Mountain House in Stage 3 water emergency
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 27, 2014 | 5442 views | 2 2 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sprinklers water a lawn on Bethel Avenue in Mountain House on Thursday  morning. The Mountain House Community Services District plans to impose new water conservation rules for the community.
Sprinklers water a lawn on Bethel Avenue in Mountain House on Thursday morning. The Mountain House Community Services District plans to impose new water conservation rules for the community.
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — The Mountain House Community Services District Board of Directors declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency and is now trying to decide how to enforce stringent water restrictions.

The board took action during the regular meeting Wednesday at the CSD offices, 230 S. Sterling Drive, proposing an ordinance that would restrict residents’ landscape watering to three times a week, depending upon their address.

If the rules are approved after a second reading at the next Board of Directors meeting July 9, all odd-numbered houses can water plants only on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday and all even-numbered houses on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Residents will be able to water only between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on their assigned days, which is more restrictive than the existing emergency guidelines of watering between 6 p.m. and 11 a.m.

The change will require residents to cut their water use by 20 percent. Under the previous Stage 1 reduction, which went into place Feb. 12, residents were asked to voluntarily reduce their water use.

In Stage 3, residents must not use more than 80 percent of the water they used a year earlier.

“Twenty percent (reduction) sounds good,” Director Andy Su said, questioning whether the cutbacks were mandatory or voluntary and if there would be fines involved.

The district’s attorney, Daniel Schroeder, said those found in violation would be charged a $100 fine.

Su objected that using water use figures from last year to identify people who were using too much water would be unfair, because some people had already started conserving and others had not. Schroeder said the district could issue warnings before levying fines.

The attorney also said that people whose households have experienced changes — more occupants or added landscaping, for example — can seek a water allocation increase from the general manager.

The changes are an effort by the district to show the State Water Resources Control Board that Mountain House is doing its best to reduce water use during the drought, Schroeder said.

Other reductions approved by the board Wednesday included the elimination of the children’s Slip ’N Slide during the Fourth of July festivities at Central Community Park.

The board also considered canceling the other water features, dunk tank and mist sprayers, but later agreed that it was important to keep some of the traditional children’s entertainment.

“If you don’t do something like that, people will go home and run in the sprinklers,” Director Jim Lamb said. “It’s a drop in the bucket. I think misters are a good idea.”

Director Celeste Farron said she would prefer to eliminate all water features as a way to show that the district was serious about its water-saving efforts, but she was willing to go along with the board’s recommendation.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 29, 2014
It is silly to make a mandatory 20 percent reduction in water usage across the board. Some conservation-conscious people may already have limited their water usage, and to demand them to decrease usage by another 20 percent lacks forethought. Recommended water usage should be calculated by size of home/lot and number of occupants.
June 29, 2014
Or the state could stop dumping millions of gallons of fresh water back into the ocean. Why should I take this 'water shortage' seriously when the state doesn't.

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at