Category Archives: NEW POSTS

Hell Froze Over As Argentina Embargoes Chevron’s $2 Billion In Assets ~ The Chevron Pit – Contaminated the Rain Forest

Hell Froze Over As Argentina Embargoes Chevron’s $2 Billion In Assets ~ The Chevron Pit – Contaminated the Rain Forest

EXCERPT:

Posted on Thursday, November 08, 2012
Yesterday, hell froze over when an Argentine court embargoed or, in effect, froze up to potentially $19 billion in Chevron assets in the South American country.

Now it’s time to fight it out on the ice.

Chevron, which now has about $2 billion in assets in Argentina, has sworn it will never pay a dime to cleanup the contamination it left behind in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Said former General Counsel Charles James: “Not till hell freezes over, and then we will fight it out on the ice.”

Chevron has defied Ecuador’s courts, refusing to pay an enforceable $19 billion judgment and forcing the Ecuadorians to file lawsuits to seize assets in Ecuador, Brazil, Canada and Argentina to obtain the damage award for one of the world’s largest oil-related environmental disasters.

BREAKING – WATER WARS: MOUNTAIN HOUSE, California – OUT OF WATER in DAYS? and a UN AGENDA 21 Smart Growth Community – a census designated place

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, California – OUT OF WATER in DAYS?  and a UN AGENDA 21 Smart Growth Community – a census designated place . . .  and More
WATER WARS – MOUNTAIN HOUSE, California – Letter to the Community – Water Supply Curtailment from the State Water Resources Control Board and MORE About Mountain House . . .  Posted on www.StopTheCrime.net  just added . .
COMMENT:  We are still digging into what seems peculiar about Mountain House in California.  ALL week national media coverage has told us Mountain House will be OUT of water in days . . . Our research teams contacted some locals in the real estate profession, in Mountain House on 6/20/15, and were told there had been NO media coverage that they had noticed in Mountain House.  NO Media was there, that they noticed, about the nationwide announcement that there were ONLY a few days left of water available for the community.  In-fact one realtor only heard about the water curtailment on the community Facebook and an out of state relative who called with concern.  Another local comment the entire situation seemed strange, very strange . . .  We were told Mountain House was a branch off of Tracy, California which is ten minutes drive time away . . . There are no stores or shops in Mountain House yet, however, the development was required to reach a certain number of roof tops to start construction on stores – and they have met that build out number . . .  A NEW high school has JUST been completed!  Now they plan to start building a business center.
The USDA home loans have very stringent requirements and strict windows of income brackets.  These loans are difficult for buyers to qualify and meet the income criteria.  (more below about USDA home loans – below)
Mountain House has its own fire department and the police is the highway patrol . . .  Seems there might be ties to the corporation that acquired the land, SunChase Holdings and Rothschild . . . Th BIG corporate players are involved from the building team, to the USDA, Smart Growth, Green Building – a UN Agenda 21 sustainable development. . .  Mountain House is a census-designated place or CDP, a term assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau to communities that resemble cities but lack incorporation or any sort of municipal government.  It seems to be similar to a condominium homeowners association with an elected board and C.C. and R’s (Covenants, Condition and Restrictions) . . . The water shortage could have a significant impact upon the board and all the homeowners if they find their costs must go up to defray trucked in water and possible holding tanks for water storage should the community receive NO more water. . .
Mountain House has the ideal conditions to be used as a template to shut off water. .  It’s really not a city.  Remember, Mountain House is a census-designated place, or CDP, a term assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau to communities that resemble cities and have no sort of municipal government.  Also Mountain House is a smart community following the UN Agenda 21 policies of which deep water cuts are called for.
Keep in mind we do NOT have a Water Shortage.  We have Primary Water – water that is continuously created within the mantel of the Earth.  Water is RENEWABLE . . . Go to www.PrimaryWater.org      Do NOT be tricked and fearful – Primary Water is Good News and we must understand the REAL water facts. . .
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NO More Water:  Mountain House – Byron Bethany Irrigation District Ordered by State Water Resources Control Board NO Water Diversions ZERO WATER . . . PDF

http://bbid.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/BBID-Letter-to-Mountain-House-CSD-06192015.pdf

Click above link to view ALL letters . . .

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Mountain House -Master-planned community at risk of losing all water within days – LA Times 6/18/15 . . .

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-0618-mountain-house-20150618-story.html

EXCERPT:

The board can fine a water user $1,000 to $10,000 per day for violating the curtailment order or subsequent “cease and desist” orders issued by regulators.

The district will keep supplying water to the town “until we have had the opportunity to fully evaluate the curtailment notice,” said Gilmore, adding that it is also considering litigation to protect its water rights.

In addition to Mountain House, about 160 local farmers are affected by the curtailment order, Gilmore said. Without water, the area would lose almost 10,000 acres of almonds, cherries, sweet corn, grapes, tomatoes, walnuts and other crops, he said.

In Mountain House, lawns, shrubbery, parks and athletic fields are at risk, said Edwin Pattison, general manager of the Mountain House Community Services District.

If it loses its water supply, Mountain House could be forced to draw down its storage in a few days and then be without water, Pattison said.

But “that’s the worst-case scenario,” Pattison added, saying that he believes he will be able to find another water supplier with older water rights that has water in storage that it can sell.

“The reality is we’re going to get some water supply,” he said. “The question is: Is it going to be enough to maintain permanent landscaping or are we going to lose tens of millions of dollars of value that supports the aesthetics of this community?”

If Pattison fails to find other water, the community and the irrigation district could negotiate with the water board to keep water flowing.

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Mountain House: Water will flow – Golden State Newspapers: Tracy Press News . . .

http://www.goldenstatenewspapers.com/tracy_press/news/mountain-house-water-will-flow/article_1eb66f3e-152c-11e5-92a1-ebba758220b9.html

EXCERPT:
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 1:04 pm
By Denise Ellen Rizzo | 0 comments
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Residents heard at a town hall meeting Tuesday that water will still flow to their homes, despite reports that the state would be shutting off their water in two days’ time.
“Are they going to cut the water off to this community? Not at all,” General Manager Edwin Pattison said. “Right now, I am probable that we’re going to obtain an alternative water supply. We’ll get this community through the end of this year and through conservation efforts. You can be assured you will be OK.”
Pattison explained that he had started the process of buying a humanitarian emergency water supply before the state board ordered curtailment of pre-1914 water rights on Monday. The curtailment means Byron Bethany Irrigation District — Mountain House’s only source of water — can no longer pump from the Delta, and he said that might mean less water available to residents.
“We’re in somewhat of an epic water crisis in the state of California,” Pattison told more than 100 people in the Michael Forbes McGrew Board Room at 230 S. Sterling Drive.
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READ the Letter to the Mountain House Community from the General Manager of the Community Services District – Water Supply Curtailment from the State Water Resources Control Board – dated June 15, 2015 -

http://www.mountainhousecsd.org/pdf/Drought6-16-15.pdf

EXCERPT:

June 15, 2015
Dear Mountain House Resident,

In an unprecedented move [but not without surprise in this fourth year of a drought], the state agency that regulates Post-1914 water rights exerted regulatory discretion under the state drought emergency declaration to begin curtailing Pre-1914 water rights. The implications of this state action could impact the community of Mountain House.

Mountain House will not run out of water as some reports have stated in the press recently. Your Mountain House Board and staff have been aware of this potential issue and have been working to minimize potential harm to the community. As we speak, staff is working to secure an alternative water supply that combined with prudent conservation measures will carry us through the end of this year [Let’s hope and pray for a large Sierra Snowpack this next winter!]

Mountain House – Home

http://www.mountainhousecsd.org/

Image description
We had a 38.5% reduction of water usagage in December 2014
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  • Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans | USDA Rural …

    www.rd.usda.gov/programs…/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans

    Loan funds may be used to help low-income individuals or households purchase homesin rural areas. Funds can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a …

  • Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program | USDA …

    www.rd.usda.gov/…/single-family-housing-guaranteed-loan-program

    Home · About RD … provides a 90% loan note guarantee to approved lenders in order to reduce the risk of extending 100% loans to eligible rural homebuyers.

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In the news

USDA Seeks Applications for Loans and Grants to Create Jobs and Support Rural Economic Development

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants to support business expansion, create jobs and increase economic opportunities in rural communities.

“Small businesses are the engine that drives job creation and investment capital coupled with business savvy provide the spark that gets that engine running” Vilsack said. “This funding will help the nation’s rural microentrepreneurs strengthen their capacity to create jobs, grow their businesses and fuel the economy. USDA is working with local organizations to provide capital to help small business owners achieve higher performance.”

Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program through 2018. For Fiscal Year 2015, more than $16 million is available in loans and grants.

Details about how to apply for this are on page 35299 of the June 19 Federal Register. Application forms may be obtained from any USDA Rural Development State Office.

RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) to help microentrepreneurs – very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees – access capital to start or grow businesses. MDOs use the funds to provide training and technical assistance to small businesses or to establish revolving loan funds that provide micro-loans, typically $5,000 to $50,000, to rural microentrepreneurs.

Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested $72.2 million in loans and grants through the RMAP program to support more than 390 projects that help very small business enterprises.

For example, in 2014, Rural Development awarded a $500,000 loan and a $105,000 grant to the Midcoast Council of Governments (MCOG) in Maine to capitalize a revolving loan fund. The fund provided technical assistance and training to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises.

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Notice

Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program for Fiscal Year 2015

ACTION

Notice.

SUMMARY

This Notice is to invite applications for loans and grants under the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) pursuant to 7 CFR part 4280, subpart D, for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Funding to support $14.190 million in loans and $2.086 million in grants is currently available. The RMAP funds were provided through the Agricultural Act of 2014, Public Law 113-79, on February 7, 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). RMAP provides the following types of support: loan only, combination loan and technical assistance grant, and subsequent technical assistance grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDO).
All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications or costs incurred prior to the obligation date.
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Census designated place

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
census designated place (CDP)[1][2][3] is a concentration of population identified by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes. CDPs are delineated for each decennial census as the statistical counterparts of incorporated places,[4]such as citiestowns, and villages. CDPs are populated areas that lack separate municipal government, but which otherwise physically resemble incorporated places.
CDPs are delineated solely to provide data for settled concentrations of population that are identifiable by name but are not legally incorporated under the laws of the state in which they are located. They include small rural communities, coloniaslocated along the U.S. border with Mexico, and unincorporated resort and retirement communities.[5] The boundaries of a CDP have no legal status.[1] Thus, they may not always correspond with the local understanding of the area or community with the same name. However, criteria established for the 2010 Census require that a CDP name “be one that is recognized and used in daily communication by the residents of the community” (not “a name developed solely for planning or other purposes”) and recommend that a CDP’s boundaries be mapped based on the geographic extent associated with residents’ use of the place name.[5]
What the Heck is a “Census-Designated Place?” | Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures . . .

http://www.aaronswwadventures.com/2012/06/census-designated-place-keystone-co-tbex/

EXCERPT:

But this insular little community troubled me the entire time I was there. It felt like a resort. Its logo was everywhere. Something was off here. But what was it…

Interwebs, don’t fail me now! And the answer, as I and my fellow researcherLaurel came to learn on Sunday night is that Keystone, Colorado is nottechnically a town. No, no, it’s a little something termed as a Census-Designated Place.

A what?

What’s a Census-Designated Place?

Turns out a Census-Designated Place, or CDP, is a term assigned by the U.S.Census Bureau to communities that resemble cities but lack incorporation or any sort of municipal government. Or a post office, it seems (at least in the case of Keystone).

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Mountain House – Annual Operating BUDGET 2014 – 2015 . . . a census designated place . . .

http://www.mountainhousecsd.org/finance_docs/14-15BudgetFinal.pdf

EXCERPT:

About Mountain House

The Mountain House area was originally inhabited by the American Indian Cholbon tribelet of the Northern Valley Yokuts. The tribelet’s territory extended westward along Old River to just west of Bethany. In the late 18th century the Spanish explorers led by Juan Bautista de Anza, traveled from the San Francisco Bay to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Spanish never settled in this region and the land was mostly used for agriculture and stopping off points for transportation and trade.

The name Mountain House originates from the Gold Rush era. When miners traveled from San Francisco to the Sierra foothills, they often rested about midway at a house called “Mountain House” at the bottom of a range of hills. The first Mountain House structure took the form of a blue tent and was built in 1849 by Thomas Goodall. With the help of American Indians, Goodall built an adobe house on the site where Mountain House became a rest stop for miners, stockmen, rancheros and immigrants. Simon Zimmerman purchased the stop and through his hard work Mountain House became a famous way station on the road to Stockton.

In 1940, the last remaining structure of Bethany, the Bethany Post Office was torn down. Since then, the land in the Mountain House area has primarily been used for agriculture.

In the mid-1980’s, the process of creating Mountain House was started as an idea. It took until 1994 when the County Board of Supervisors approved that Mountain House would be included in the San Joaquin General Plan. In 1996 the Mountain House Community Services District was formed.

The Mountain House Community Service District’s Sphere of Influence covers an area of 4,784 acres or almost 7.5 square miles. The current Master Plan for Mountain House envisions a community with 12 separate neighborhoods (“villages”) plus a Town Center that will provide approximately 21,000 jobs, approximately 16,000 dwelling units for a population of over 44,000 people.

In 1991, SunChase Holdings acquired most of the land that would become Mountain House as an assemblage of optioned parcels. The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified for the Mountain House project in March 1992; however, Mountain House was not added to San Joaquin County General Plan at that time by the Board of Supervisors.

In February 1993, the San Joaquin County’s Board of Supervisors certified the EIR and finally included the proposed Mountain House community in the San Joaquin County General Plan. Mountain House was intended to be added as an amendment to the San Joaquin County General Plan 1995. The master developer was required to help form the Community Services District in 1996 which would be the municipal government within the Mountain House jurisdiction.

The master developer proceeded to secure all necessary local, state and federal entitlements and permits in order to break ground and begin construction in 2001. The first residents of Mountain House bought their homes and moved to Mountain House in June 2003.

By 2008, there were over 1,000 registered voters in Mountain House which was the number required to hold an election deciding the independence of the Community Services District from San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. In November 2008, Mountain House residents voted to have a locally elected Board of Directors; and, five (5) of eighteen (18) candidates were elected to serve on the first Board of Directors. They were: Matthew Balzarini, James Lamb, Eric Payne, Andy Su, and Bernice K. Tingle. The locally elected members of the Board of Directors were sworn into office in December 2008.

District Authority

The Mountain House Community Services District is a political subdivision of the State of California, formed in 1996, in accordance with the Community District Services Law in Government Code Section 61000. When created, the Local Agency Formation Commission granted the District the following eighteen (18) separate governmental powers to exercise within the boundaries of the district:

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  1. Water services.
  2. Sewer services.
  3. Garbage services.
  4. Fire protection.
  5. Public recreation.
  6. Street lighting.
  7. Library buildings and services.
  8. Convert utilities to underground.
  9. Police protection.
  1. Road maintenance.
  2. Transportation services.
  3. Graffiti abatement.
  4. CC&R enforcement.
  5. Flood control protection.
  6. Pest and weed abatement.
  7. Wildlife habitat mitigation.
  8. Telecommunications services.
  9. Dissemination of information.

    District Authority cont.

    In addition, the District has the following general powers: sue and be sued; purchase, receive by gift or bequest and hold land, make contracts and purchases and hold personal property necessary to the exercise of its powers, manage, sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of its property as the interest of its inhabitants require; levy and collect taxes authorized by law and exercise such other and further powers as may be especially conferred by law or as may be necessarily implied from those expressed. All services outside of the 18 enumerated powers are performed either by San Joaquin County or the State of California.

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    Mountain House District Geography

    The Mountain House Community Services District is located in the west area of San Joaquin County, approximately 61 miles southeast of San Francisco, 52 miles east of Oakland, 51 miles northeast of San Jose, and 76.5 southwest of Sacramento. The District occupies 7.5 square miles.

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The Board of Directors

The members of the Board of Directors are elected by the voters to serve overlapping four-year terms. The President and Vice President are elected by the Board for a one year term. The Board of Directors sets policy and exercises the legislative authority of the District. By Resolution MMV111-5, the Board of Directors holds meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and at other times as, in the opinion of Board, the public interest may require. The current Board of Directors members and the dates upon which their respective terms expire are as follows:

President: Steven Gutierrez, November 2014
Vice President: Bernice K. Tingle, November 2016 Director: Celeste Farron, November 2014 Director: Jim Lamb, November 2016
Director: Andy K. Su, November 2016

Administration and Management

The Mountain House Community Services District is a Board-Manager form of government. The Board of Directors appoints the General Manager who appoints all other District personnel. The General Manager is charged with overseeing the District’s daily operations. Board appointed Committees assist the Board of Directors in carrying out various aspects and functions of the District.

Aerial picture of Mountain House Community Services District

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Demographics

Land Area ………………………………………………………………………..7.5 square miles

Population1 2012……………………………………………………………………………………..10,984

Population by Gender2 Female……………………………………………………………………………………52.3% Male………………………………………………………………………………………47.7%

Population by Age Group2
Under 14 years……………………………………………………………………………30.1% 15 to 24 years………………………………………………………………………………10.9% 25 to 44 years ……………………………………………………………………………….36% 45 to 59 years …………………………………………………………………………….17.2% 60 to 74 years……………………………………………………………………………….5.6% 75 years and over ………………………………………………………………………….0.2%

Median Age: 30.6

1 State of California, Department of Finance estimates.
2 US Census Bureau, 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-year estimates

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Drought spurs rodent problems across California — RT USA‏

Drought spurs rodent problems across California — RT USA . . .

http://rt.com/usa/252889-mice-rats-california-drought/

EXCERPT:

In the San Francisco area, there have been reports of more rats out in public than usual, as the area’s water shortage has drawn them in search of nourishment.

“There’s no water source for them right now so they’re going outside to get it,” Tina O’Keefe, of Dirty Rats Rodent Removal, told the Bay Area’s NBC affiliate. “They eat plants. They eat meat. They’re going to the dog park because there are water bowls. They’re going to horse stables because there’s water.”

ACTION ALERT – WATER, LAND and FOOD THEFT: THE WATER is BEING TURNED OFF – California Farmers Worry Senior Water Rights Cuts In Drought Could Be Devastating

ACTION ALERT – WATER, LAND and FOOD THEFT:  THE WATER is BEING TURNED OFF – California Farmers Worry Senior Water Rights Cuts In Drought Could Be Devastating « CBS Sacramento . . . and Read the article below WATER WARS:  RUNNING OUT – Mountain House water source dries up – News – recordnet.com – Stockton, CA
COMMENT:  Please do ALL you can to alert our farming and ranching neighbors of the water FACTS. . . go to www.PrimaryWater.org – Learn the information necessary to combat the scarce water campaign and illusion of peak water – we are not running out of water . . . We are the Water Planet and water is continuously created within the mantel of the Earth, Continuously . . .  Please watch the YouTube Primary Water Explained and help distribute flyers to the communities that are being threatened with immediate water curtailments.  YOUR TOWN WILL BE NEXT – the powers that be want control of OUR water.  They want ALL the water, every DROP. .  Learn who the “THEY” are by watching the YouTube “Water Wars Stealing Water for Profit and Power” . . .
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California Farmers Worry Senior Water Rights Cuts In Drought Could Be Devastating « CBS Sacramento

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/06/12/california-farmers-worry-senior-water-rights-cuts-in-drought-could-be-devastating/

EXCERPT:
TRACY (CBS13) — California ordered dramatic cutsto farmers who have water rights dating back more than 100 years to help with the drought.
Notices have been sent to 114 senior rights holders, telling them to stop diverting water and to stop releasing previously stored water. Those who violate the order face fines up to $1,000 a day and $2,500 per acre-foot.
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RUNNING OUT of Water – Mountain House water source dries up – News – recordnet.com – Stockton, CA

http://www.recordnet.com/article/20150615/NEWS/150619752

Posted Jun. 15, 2015 at 5:48 PM

Outdoor irrigation could soon be entirely banned in San Joaquin County’s newest community, more evidence that the pain of the drought is not limited to local farmers.

Mountain House, a planned community of about 9,600 people, buys its water from the Byron Bethany Irrigation District near Tracy.

But on Friday, state officials announced that Byron Bethany can no longer divert water under its century-old water right, along with 114 other water districts, farms and companies up and down the Central Valley.

The announcement was no surprise. But Mountain House must now scramble to either secure an alternate supply, or impose massive cuts on its residents.

“The drought is beginning to really hurt people where they live, and Mountain House is no different,” the community’s general manager, Ed Pattison, told his Board of Directors just two days before the cuts were announced.

The state’s so-called “curtailments” require water users to cease diversions within seven days, or face penalties up to $1,000 per day. However, the state says it will consider — on a case-by-case basis — allowing some water to be delivered for health and human safety purposes.

If that happens in Mountain House, the town would be left with about 50 gallons per person per day, Pattison said last week. Current usage is about 97 gallons per person per day.

Essentially cutting the water supply in half creates the “very real possibility” that all outdoor watering will be banned, Pattison said.

“That would basically mean that Mountain House would lose potentially hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in landscaping that has already been put in place, and is one of the beautiful aesthetics that brings people to Mountain House,” he said.

TURN in YOUR Neighbor: Drought app lets you tattle-tale on water wasters in your community . . App to go state-wide, then nation-wide . . .‏

COMMENT:  Remember we DO NOT have a water shortage.  Water is RENEWABLE – We have Primary Water. . .  go to www.PrimaryWater.org to learn the REAL Water Science . . .
TURN in YOUR Neighbor:  Drought app lets you tattle-tale on water wasters in your community . . App to go state-wide, then nation-wide . . .
Amid the drought in California where residents are being asked to conserve water, one county created an app that lets neighbors report people wasting water. VPC . . . 6/3/15

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/06/02/california-drought-water-conservation-app/28361785/

EXCERPT:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With Californians tasked to cut back water during a four-year drought, the sound of water run-off has become a call to action.

California’s Placer County Water Agency has two new smart phone apps, launched last October. One is a shower timer, which converts time in shower to gallons of water used.

The second, sure to be more discussed, allows people to report water wasters.

WATER WARS: California Drought: Landlords pass along water bills to coax apartment dwellers to conserve . . .‏

WATER WARS:  SB 7 may require individual water submeters for all NEW construction . . . 
 
California Drought: Landlords pass along water bills to coax apartment dwellers to conserve
Julia Prodis Sulek jsulek@mercurynews.com

Posted:   06/06/2015 02:08:37 PM PDT0 Comments | Updated:   52 min. ago
Samantha Brown, carrying her son 8-month-old Mateo, walks around the Mountain View Apartments in Concord, Calif., on Tuesday, May 27, 2015. Brown, a former

Samantha Brown, carrying her son 8-month-old Mateo, walks around the Mountain View Apartments in Concord, Calif., on Tuesday, May 27, 2015. Brown, a former resident of the apartment complex, her husband and four children, moved out after suddenly having to pay for water on a flat rate basis. She felt it was unfair for her to have to pay for other tenants wasteful water habits. Because there are no “sub-meters” on each unit, there is no way to determine how much water is being used in individual units. With cities and water districts across the state enforcing mandatory water restrictions this summer, this creates a real dilemma. (Dan Honda)
CONCORD — For years, renters at the boxy apartment complex on Monument Boulevard were like many tenants across California: They never paid a water bill.

But as California’s devastating drought enters its fourth summer and water rates and penalties are surging, landlords are increasingly passing along those costs — on top of the monthly rent.

It isn’t just the additional cost that’s irking renters — it’s the growing suspicion among neighbors suddenly stuck splitting one big water bill. A vast majority of California’s apartment complexes have one master water meter, not individual ones for each unit. So there’s no way to measure who’s conserving and who is letting the tap run wild.

“I’m not going to pay for other people to do their laundry and take hourlong showers,” said Samantha Brown, who recently moved out of the Concord apartment complex into a single-family home. “It’s not fair.”

Tensions over water are mounting among tenants of multifamily dwellings in a state where more than 40 percent of the population live in apartment buildings — nearly 16 million people. A social experiment on water conservation is playing out on a grand scale, from studio apartments to penthouses, from duplexes to high rises.

The new reality for apartment dwellers is the latest installment in this newspaper’s ongoing series “A State of Drought.”

“When tenants are paying for a water bill, they conserve. When they’re not, they go crazy,” said Doug Smith, president of Fuller Enterprises, who started charging his renters for water last year at the Mountain View apartments in Concord, one of 22 apartment buildings he owns throughout the Bay Area.

Already, he says he has seen a 12 percent reduction in water use since he started billing his renters a year ago. On average, he says, his tenants’ water bills are running about $23 a month.

“Before, when tenants weren’t paying and the toilet was running and the shower was dripping, we’d say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ ” he said. “Now, we get calls all the time. It encourages them to conserve.”
But others say it’s not that simple in the world of multifamily living, where relying on your neighbor is often harder than it sounds. Will tenants conserve if the family down the hall does not? Will landlords install low-flow toilets and fix leaky faucets if they no longer pay the water bill?
“It creates a situation where no one is doing the right thing around conserving water,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, legal director of the San Francisco-based tenants’ rights group Tenants Together.
That’s not what you want to hear in the midst of California’s worst drought in history, with Gov. Jerry Brown imposing severe water restrictions and big fines for abusers.
While much drought conservation attention has been focused on California farmers and homeowners with big yards, who use far more water than apartment dwellers, water usage among the state’s millions of apartment dwellers still equals about 15 times what the city of San Francisco uses each year.
About 80 percent of apartment dwellers don’t have their own water meters to gauge their personal water use. So, for more than 12 million renters, there is no correlation between the amount of water they use and the cost, according to a legislative analysis of a new bill to correct that in the future.
For more than a decade, state lawmakers have grappled with the issue and are now considering legislation that would require “submeters” installed in each apartment unit for all new construction. But even if SB 7 passes, it would only affect those complexes built after 2018.
So what happens now?
“This summer, you’ll see more and more landlords, if they don’t already and can’t install submeters, they’ll probably ask tenants to pay (some share of) the water bill,” said Debra Carlton, the California Apartment Association’s senior vice president for public affairs, who has lobbied on behalf of 50,000 apartment building owners. “It’s not the best way to do it, but in some cases, it’s the only way.”
Landlords of rent-controlled apartments and Section 8 low-income housing are generally prohibited from billing tenants for water. And San Jose Water Co., which has announced strict water use limits on homeowners, has given its customers living in apartment complexes a pass, asserting that most are already fairly efficient with water use because they tend to have less landscaping than single-family homes.
Built in the 1960s, the Mountain View apartments in Concord look like so many others spread across California: more than 160 units, two-stories with long balconies, three small swimming pools and a few grassy areas.
Smith, who owns the complex, says he is doing his part to achieve state and local water conservation goals. He is cutting back landscape watering on his 22 properties to two days a week, as many local jurisdictions require, he said, and is replacing grass with synthetic lawns at some complexes.
His Fremont property has submeters, he said. But in Concord, he says he’s trying to be as fair as possible without them, picking up 20 percent of the total bill to pay for the common grassy and pool areas, and dividing the rest depending on the size of the apartments and number of occupants.
But if renters don’t do their part to conserve, everyone in the complex will have to pay even more.
“They need to work together,” he said. “If we’re going to be penalized, they’re going to be penalized.”
Easy for him to say. One renter at the Concord complex who didn’t want to be identified tried to band together with her neighbors to protest the water bills, but it fizzled when they feared they had little power or recourse.
William Scott, 25, who lives in the Concord complex, isn’t protesting. But he says splitting the water bill with neighbors isn’t the best solution.
“It’s a little frustrating. You can’t control it,” he said. “Who are you going to complain to? All you can do is try to save enough money to buy a house.”
While Smith is paying to water the common areas at the Concord apartments, he’s not required to by state law. That means some landlords could pass on the entire water bill to tenants — and if they want a lush lawn to attract new renters, drought be damned.
Last summer in Santa Cruz, which imposed some of the strictest water rules in the region, an apartment complex admitted it was overwatering its landscaping and was fined for exceeding its water allocation. While the owners denied they passed along the penalties to the tenants, the renters there contended that was the only explanation for the spike in their water bills.
Those in the apartment industry say that over time, when old apartment buildings are knocked down and new ones are built with submeters, tensions between landlords and tenants and among neighbors will surely diminish.
“I can understand where residents are coming from, that they’re getting a much worse deal now” by having to pay separate water bills, said Michael Foote of NWP Services, which provides utility billing and energy management services to apartment complexes across the country. “But partially, the deal they were getting was contributing to the problem.”
Requiring tenants to share the water bill is “leveling the playing field so everyone has skin in the game to conserve,” he said. “Changing people’s behavior is difficult. But one of the best ways to do it is through their wallets. That’s where people pay attention.”
Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409. Follow her at twitter.com/juliasulek

California moves to restrict water pumping by pre-1914 rights holders – LA Times 6/12/15 . . .‏

COMMENT:  Remember when you read these media scare tactics we MUST support the farmers and ranchers by distributing the REAL water facts, to them.  PRIMARY WATER is why we DO NOT have a water shortage. . . Go to www.PrimaryWater.org and distribute the 1/2 page double sided flyers to everyone you know and consider joining the call to action by ordering car magnets to let others know this goods news – call (707) 586-9558 . . .  Spread the GOOD NEWS!   Primary Water – Water is Renewal. . . The media is now saying we have fossil water and peak water when the Earth is the water planet and continuously creates pure, clean water . .  Watch the YouTube “Primary Water Explained” . . . Help be part of the solution this is not ONLY a California water and land grab this is global and headed to your town.  Start educating NOW – well informed people will not consent to this falsified water science when they are armed with the TRUTH . . .

Obama administration announced $110 million in additional funding to provide temporary jobs for dislocated Californians, to support farmers and to improve water efficiency.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-drought-water-rights-20150612-story.html

EXCERPT

For the first time in nearly 40 years, state regulators are telling more than 100 growers and irrigation districts with some of the oldest water rights in California that they have to stop drawing supplies from drought-starved rivers and streams in the Central Valley.

The curtailment order, issued Friday by the State Water Resources Control Board, has been expected for weeks. Earlier this spring, the board halted diversions under some 8,700 junior rights. With snowmelt reduced to a trickle this year, there simply isn’t enough water flowing in rivers to meet the demand of all those with even older rights predating 1914.

And as flows continue to decline this summer, board officials said, they expect to issue more curtailments, stopping river pumping by more senior diverters.

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen of Modesto condemned the board action. “Today’s water grab by the state board is disappointing, but not surprising,” she said in a statement. “It is one they have been eager to do for a long time and our current drought crisis gives them the cover they’ve been looking for to follow through.”

In California and the West, most rights to surface water are based on when the water was first diverted and used, a system known as “first in time, first in right.” The oldest claims date to the Gold Rush era, when miners sucked water from streams and used it to blast gold out of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

In the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, growers with riparian rights volunteered last month to reduce their use by 25% this summer — a deal that headed off possibly more severe cuts by the state board.

Friday’s curtailments apply to 86 senior rights holders in the Sacramento River watershed, 14 holders in the San Joaquin River watershed and 14 in the delta. Because some holders have multiple rights, the total number curtailed Friday was 276. Those with riparian rights were not affected.

In other drought action Friday, the Obama administration announced $110 million in additional funding to provide temporary jobs for dislocated Californians, to support farmers and to improve water efficiency.

The money comes on top of more than $190 million that federal agencies have already committed to aid drought-stricken communities this year, officials said.

 

WARNING: Smart Water Metering – The Qonnectis Network | Water Intelligence plc – ROTHSCHILD

Smart Water Metering – The Qonnectis Network | Water Intelligence plc – ROTHSCHILD . . .

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