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Madera County relaxes water rules

The state lifted its Drought State of Emergency in April. This week Madera County supervisors affirmed a decision by the Public Works Department to relax watering restrictions for all but five county-operated water districts.

Most of the county will move from Stage 3 to Stage 2 water conservation rules, which allow outdoor watering twice per week.

“If your street address is even, your watering days will be Wednesdays and Sundays,” said Public Works Director Ahmad Alkhayyat at the regular meeting of the board of supervisors Tuesday. “And odd numbered street addresses will be Tuesdays and Saturdays.”

Those who water on a prohibited day face potential fines of $50, $100 or $150, according to county municipal code. Conditions for Stage 2 are “defined as potential moderate water shortage.”

Maintenance districts 7 (Marina View) and 19 (Parkwood) and service area 19 (Rolling Hills) will have Stage 3.5 (“very serious shortage”) restrictions instead, which among other rules only allow drip irrigation for watering twice a week. Hot tubs and pools must be filled from water transported in from outside of the district. Potential fines are $85, $135 and $185.

Districts 73 (Quartz Mountain) and 36 (Eastin Arcola) will be at Stage 4, which permits “no outside water whatsoever.” Potential fines are $95, $145 and $195.

“These are systems with challenges that we elected to put on a more strict” schedule, Alkhayyat told supervisors.

The county imposed Stage 3 water conservation rules in 2016. But, on April 7, Gov. Brown ended a more than two-year Drought State of Emergency for all counties in California except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. Water restrictions remain, according to the public works department, because recovery is expected to be slow for its critically over-drafted groundwater basin. Other Madera County news

Other public business addressed by Tuesday’s regular Board of Supervisors meeting include:

  • Supervisors voted favorably for county plans to enter an agreement with Hillview Water Company on behalf of Maintenance District 422 (Still Meadows) for consolidation of its drinking water and system maintenance. MD-32 exceeds maximum contaminant levels for “Gross Alpha, Uranium and Arsenic,” according to the county, and faces a county Environmental Health Department order it must comply with by June 18, 2018. On Feb. 1, the State Division of Financial Assistance confirmed that the $2,138,584 consolidation project would be entirely grant funded so long as the county issues a Construction Funding Agreement. Once the project is completed, MD-42 would become part of the Hillview Water Company system.

  • Supervisors chose a design by Irvine-based Five Creative Group for a new county logo that, similar to the current one, features a farm field, the historic granite courthouse, a mountain range and the sun, but adds three rivers coming down from the mountains. All except Supervisor Max Rodriguez voted in favor of the updated design and type font.

  • Valley Teen Ranch accepted a proclamation from the county celebrating its 30th anniversary. The 80-acre ranch provides therapeutic, residential services for minors from infancy to age 18. “One of the things that’s going to be happening on our 30th anniversary is rebranding,” CEO Connie Clendenan, of Valley Teen Ranch, told supervisors. “Our name will be Ray of Hope, a Valley Teen Ranch organization, because we also in these 30 years have started foster care, adoption and transitional living. Its more than just the ranch and the valley for teens. Our legal name will still be Valley Teen Ranch. Thank you for your support and your encouragement, and we plan to stay for another 100 years.”

  • Supervisors also proclaimed May as Resource Family Appreciation Month in honor of the Social Services Department’s foster families.

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