Sierra Madre Residents Struggle With Water Restrictions

Below-average water levels have triggered drastic restrictions on water consumption.

By Ted Chen
|  Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013  |  Updated 10:59 PM PDT
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Sierra Madre is the latest Southern California city to implement water conservation measures. The city says they got less than half its normal rainfall this year and water levels dropped more than 30 feet and that is what triggered the new restrictions. Ted Chen reports from Sierra Madre for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

Ted Chen

Sierra Madre is the latest Southern California city to implement water conservation measures. The city says they got less than half its normal rainfall this year and water levels dropped more than 30 feet and that is what triggered the new restrictions. Ted Chen reports from Sierra Madre for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.

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Sierra Madre has received less than half of its normal rainfall during the past year, dropping water levels more than 30 feet, according to city officials.

The conditions have made Sierra Madre the latest Southern California city to implement tough water conservation measures.

Most residents are now required to reduce water usage by 20 percent, or they will be charged double the rate for usage above that target.

Resident Ginger Kyndberg has a backyard full of citrus trees and a garden in front of her house. It's nothing fancy, she said, but she still has not figured out how she is going to maintain her yards with the new water restrictions.

“As much as I want to conserve water, my question is, how am I going to achieve it? I don’t think that I’m going to be able to,” Kyndberg said.

While Kyndberg’s magic number is 20 percent below her yearly average, it’s 50 percent below what she averages in summer months.

Sierra Madre residents fear a deluge of big water bills, but the city claims it would be even more expensive to import water from other sources.

“It’s at a much higher cost to the water fund and to the city and ultimately possibly to the residents to be able to pump water into the city as opposed to pumping it from the ground,” said Elisa Cox, Sierra Madre’s spokeswoman.

Kyndberg has already reduced her watering to two times a week and doubts her yards will survive the summer.

“We have to come up with something i think that's more reasonable that we can with,” Kyndberg said. “And find some alternatives.”

Sierra Madre’s City Council is scheduled to discuss the water crisis Tuesday evening.

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