LARC Ranch continues to face water shortages while the County awaits permits for Bouquet Canyon Creek cleanup.
The Los Angeles Residential Community, Ranch continues to face severe water shortages due to the ongoing drought and the lack of water being released into the Bouquet Canyon Creek.
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The LARC Ranch provides residential and day programs for 100 developmentally disabled adults and operates on a space of 65 acres in Saugus.
In a letter to LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Kathleen Sturkey, Executive Director of LARC Ranch, attempted to convey the seriousness of the water shortage.
“This is a critical situation and and we are requesting the release of reservoir water be once again allowed as promised by the [LA Department of Water and Power] 1978 contract and that the U.S. Forest Service clear the streambeds, which are a critical avenue for the released water,” Sturkey said in the letter.
The LARC property relies heavily on underground water supplies that are pumped into a holding tank on a hill above the property, according to the release. New pumps were installed in 2013, but the water shortages have persisted due to low levels of water in the onsite well.
While the drought is partially to blame for these low levels, flooding from 2005 caused a buildup of silt and debris in the Bouquet Creek, leading the LADWP to decrease the amount of water released into the creek to levels below contractually established amounts, according to the release.
The amount of water released into the creek was decreased by LADWP due to concerns of flooding onto Bouquet Canyon Road, which could pose a safety risk for motorists.
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Edel Vizcarra, Planning and Public Works Deputy for Supervisor Antonovich, said interim steps have been taken to get water to LARC Ranch, but acquiring the permits to clean up the creek is a much longer process.
“We put in posts, and the gates should be ready soon, to close the road so the LADWP can release some water, Vizcarra said. “We are ready to go in and clean the creek up, but there is a lengthy and expensive process to go through the [National Environmental Policy Act] and the Forest Service to get permits to clean it up.”
A local state of emergency was declared on Feb. 25 by the LA County Board of Supervisors to help speed up the permit process and get water to the Ranch, Vizcarra said.
LARC Ranch has been in contact with Supervisor Antonovich, LADWP, the U.S Forest Service and federal legislators to facilitate cleanup of the debris, but has thus far been met mostly with bureaucratic blockages, according to the release.
LARC Ranch’s water holdings were used in the LA County Fire Department’s defense of the ranch and several neighboring homes during the Buckweed Fire of 2007, according to the release. Despite their current shortages, LARC Ranch continues to maintain 100,000 gallons of emergency water reserves in order to remain prepared for another fire.
As of Apr. 1, LARC Ranch has incurred expenses of $12,550 to truck in 401,800 gallons of fresh water from outside sources, according to the release.
Source: Santa Clarita News