August 8, 2007

State of Emergency Declared in Lucerne Valley

Mitzelfelt requests assistance from Governor

Press Releasse from Brad Mitzelfelt
Supervisor, First District, San Bernardino County

LUCERNE VALLEY - San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt today requested that a local state of emergency be declared in Lucerne Valley due to a shortage of water caused by a lack of available water haulers. An emergency declaration was signed by Chairman of the Board Paul Biane this afternoon and will be reviewed by the full Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for ratification.

"We need to get water delivery service restored as soon as possible," said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. "Until that happens, we are doing everything we can to provide other sources of water for residents."

The shortage of haulers was caused by recent enforcement actions by state agencies against water haulers serving the rural area, which relies heavily on hauled water for domestic and other uses.

Mitzelfelt contacted Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office and requested that state resources be provided in order to deliver water to residents. "I was informed by the Governor's Office that the State Office of Emergency Services will be providing several potable water trucks by morning," said Mitzelfelt.

Mitzelfelt authorized an emergency notification message yesterday that was sent to Lucerne Valley residents through the County's Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS). The message notified residents of the shortage and provided a number for residents to call San Bernardino County for further information regarding resources available to assist those without water.

County staff members are also contacting Lucerne Valley residents directly in an effort to identify residents with special needs, such as elderly, children and disabled residents.

"We have identified County resources through a number of departments and we are making those resources available to residents as we identify their needs," said Mitzelfelt. The County Departments of Aging and Adult Services, Environmental Health, Children's Fund, Office of Emergency Services, County Fire Department and Special Districts Water and Sanitation Division are all providing assistance.

The Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) has been contacting elderly and disabled adults with whom they have had contact in the past to determine their status. The department identified at least five households in need of water and delivered bottled water to those homes.

Anyone with knowledge of elders or dependent adults in need should provide information to the Victorville DAAS office by contacting District Manager Ron Buttram at (760) 843-5160 or Shar Grimm at (760) 843-5108.

County staff are also attempting to find out from haulers if they are aware of any water customers with special needs, such as residents without transportation or phones.

Bottled water is also being distributed in town by the County. "We provided 348 gallons of bottled water yesterday and delivered another 204 gallons today," added Mitzelfelt.

The County Fire Department is also providing non-potable water for residents who need water for evaporative coolers and animals. The fire department may be contacted at (760)248-7322.

Supervisor Mitzelfelt also requested that the County Economic Development Agency attempt to contact the haulers who were shut down to determine if there is anything the County can do to help get them licensed and on the road, such as providing small business loans to help with equipment upgrades or licensing costs.