City Council to consider revising water ordinance to allow outside hookups; drought is the culprit

By Ed Martin, Editor

The ongoing drought has forced at least one homeowner, and possibly many more, to approach the city about an emergency hookup to the city’s water lines. Longtime Lemoore resident Riley Jones requested that he be allowed to connect his home to the city’s water line because his well is failing due to the ongoing drought.

Jones, who purchased his home on Hotchkiss Drive, resides just across the street from one of the city’s main water lines. His home is located in the Country Club Estates just outside of the city limits.

Interim Public Works director Frank Rivera visited with Jones and other residents and surveyed the 32 other country club residents as to their desire to connect to the city’s water line. “We’re still receiving responses,” said Rivera, indicating that of those received, most were in favor of the connection.

Rivera told councilmembers that, with their direction, he would like to hold an informal meeting with the residents of Country Club Estates to discuss the options available to them in detail, as well as prospective costs associated with bringing the city’s water line to their subdivision.

Jones, who appeared in person before the council, told members that he’s drilled at least two wells. In 2013 he was forced to drill a new well “as the original well no longer produced enough water to sustain our household.” It produced only gray water, he said. A third well wasn’t much better. Water proved highly contaminated with iron and very fine silt and sand.

“It is what it is,” Jones said. “I have come to the city council to request emergency hookup to the water main … which is across the street from me.”

To do so would require councilmembers to change the existing water ordinance which prohibits outside hookups. Allowing water hookups to property owners outside of a city’s limit, is not unusual. However, Lemoore’s current ordinance prohibits it.

Council Members agreed to bring the ordinance back to council with the desired changes, which would give the city authority to allow outside hookups. “If it was me I’d be reaching out to the city as well,” said Councilmember Jeff Chedester, who made the motion to seek an amendment to the ordinance. “We’re in a serious drought situation. I think we should look into the ordinance and bring it back to the council.”

Councilmembers are expected to see a revised ordinance at their next meeting on June 16.

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