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Lemoore gets state relief on water mandate

Lemoore got a reprieve from state water conservation mandates, but will be required to work more closely with its major water users, including Leprino Foods, a mozzarella cheese manufacturer.
Lemoore got a reprieve from state water conservation mandates, but will be required to work more closely with its major water users, including Leprino Foods, a mozzarella cheese manufacturer. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

California water officials have issued an alternative compliance order for Lemoore, which means the city will not have to meet the state’s mandate for cutting 32 percent of its water consumption.

The order becomes effective Tuesday, said Joe Simonson, the city’s interim public works director.

Lemoore is only the seventh water supplier in the state to get an alternative compliance order. Livingston and the West Kern Water District in Taft are the only other Valley water suppliers to get the alternative orders.

Lemoore has had a difficult time meeting the state-mandated 32 percent consumption cut since the reductions went into effect in June. Through August, Lemoore had cut consumption by 19.9 percent.

City officials showed the state that one-third to one-half of the city’s water goes to industry, which is the major job generator in the city of 25,000. In developing the water mandates, the state’s intention was not to affect local economies.

Simonson said he was relieved by the state’s action, but the order will require the city to meet with its 25 largest residential, industrial/commercial/institutional water users and the three major industrial users in the city: Leprino Foods, Agusa and Olam. The city is required to audit water use of its largest consumers monthly.

12.1 percentAmount Lemoore is short compared with its 32 percent state mandated reduction

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea that they suggested we identify the biggest users,” he said.

The major industrial users, Simonson said, play a significant role in water reuse and recycling.

The city also is being required to expand conservation efforts through possible rate changes and consumer education.

“We are going to get it as good as we can, conduct ongoing monitoring and make sure our (consumers) are doing the best they can,” Simonson said.

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin

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