The Mountain House Community Services District Board of Directors voted unanimously to amend the community’s water ordinance during the regular board meeting Wednesday night at the CSD offices, 230 S. Sterling Drive.
The amendment allows residents with odd-numbered houses to water landscaping only on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and even-numbered houses on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The change is more restrictive than the previous emergency guidelines, which allowed watering daily from 6 p.m. to 11 a.m.
The amendment comes on the heels of the board declaring a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency on June 25.
In Stage 3, residents must use no more than 80 percent of the water they used a year earlier.
Board counsel Daniel Schroeder told the directors on Wednesday that it was important to show that the community was making efforts to conserve water, because the State Water Resources Control Board would be monitoring activity by those with pre-1914 water rights.
Mountain House is in that group because it gets water from Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, which existed before 1914 and thus has the right to pull water from state-controlled sources, such as Delta waterways, when other districts that came later do not.
Residents who ignore the new ordinance can expect fines of up to $100 per violation.
Schroeder said the state board was requiring water conservation that included no outdoor runoff, no hose use without a shutoff nozzle, and no use of water on any hard surfaces, such as hosing off driveways or sidewalks.
“We’re still at risk of (water) curtailment,” he said. “We will be watching what it is they do. If the ordinance doesn’t meet (the state’s requirements), we will change the ordinance.”
Director Jim Lamb said he watched the hearings by the water board, and he said it was disclosed that the board was getting only 30 percent compliance from post-1914 water users. He said that was the reason the board had decided to leave pre-1914 users alone.
“Water is still flowing,” Lamb said. “There is still potential that the water will run out, so in essence, they (the water board) are running out the clock.”
Director Celeste Farron recommended that the board authorize the new interim general manager, Gabriel Karam, who was appointed at the start of the meeting, to hire someone to monitor and enforce the 20 percent water-use conservation. Karam will take his new position Monday.
Residents looking for ways to conserve water can go on the district website, MHCSD.com, for tips, Farron said. Residents who have have changes in their household can petition the General Manager for an increase in their water allowance.
Schroeder said the process at the state level was confusing.
“It’s like being on an ice flow,” he said. “Things seem to be changing with the passing of every day.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4225.