Thursday, September 29, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 31

Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on August 10th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 24

Lompoc recently considered another emergency water-use proclamation, but we have no need


When is an “emergency” not really that emergent? Apparently, some of the “experts” in Lompoc can’t figure that one out as they tried to claim an emergency declaration was needed and then explained that none exists—at least in our city.

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, the Lompoc City Council held a hearing to determine if a staff proposal to adopt an urgency ordinance to prohibit the use of potable water for the irrigation of nonfunctional turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional sites. We all know that there is a shortage of water in our state, but I don’t think any of us would dive into the weeds to examine the intricate details concerning water conservation in the city, but in Lompoc we are not in a severe drought condition.

The staff was reacting to an emergency declaration by Gov. Gavin Newsom “declaring a state of emergency proclamation under the California Emergency Services Act, determining that statewide drought conditions will likely continue for the foreseeable future.” Whether this is true or not is debatable, since in our area drought conditions run in cycles.

For example, the accumulation in the 1997-98 rain year totaled 34.05 inches; for the next six years the highest was about 15 inches per year, and then in 2004-05 the accumulation totaled more than 24 inches. So, you see the total rainfall for any series of years isn’t consistent; sometimes it’s very wet and sometimes it is dry. We are currently in a dry cycle, but again, Lompoc is not in an overuse condition.

The staff report provided by the staff to justify the urgency ordinance was somewhat confusing. In it they say, “The city first adopted its prohibitions and restrictions on the use of water in 1990 and has amended the code numerous times as state requirements have changed since then. The city’s level 1 demand reduction percentage adopted in its water shortage contingency plan complies with the state of California’s level 2 demand reduction percentage. The water shortage assessment submitted to the Department of Water Resources provided data explaining that the city is exceeding its requirement by implementing level 1 actions.”

Then they went on to urge the council to approve the new restrictions just because the governor said so.

None of the council members were born yesterday and they weren’t buying what the staff was trying to sell, and they turned it down. Why add more restrictions when the staff clearly said our city is already exceeding state level regulations concerning water conservation?

Sometimes common sense by elected officials is far more valuable than simply doing something that isn’t necessary as a knee-jerk reaction to an executive fiat that doesn’t even apply to our situation.

Ron Fink writes to the Sun from Lompoc. Send a letter for publication to

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