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District Will Reject Water Customers : Drought: Las Virgenes directors vote to reject new hookups in an attempt to meet a mandatory 17% cutback.


The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District will try to survive the drought by refusing to accept new customers, casting doubt on the fate of many proposed developments in the southwestern San Fernando Valley.

Faced with a mandatory 17% cutback ordered by the Metropolitan Water District, which provides the local utility's supply, Las Virgenes directors voted this week to provide water only to existing customers and to new ones who received commitments before Monday.

The emergency regulation will remain in effect at least until the drought eases, said Diane Eaton, a spokeswoman for the district. Directors also indicated that even those commitments may be jeopardized if conditions do not improve.

The district serves 17,000 residential and commercial customers in Agoura Hills, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village, and in unincorporated areas that include Calabasas and Agoura.

The district has never taken such action, but moratoriums on new hookups have been imposed in other communities such as Santa Barbara and Goleta.

About 4,500 new residences and commercial spaces are proposed within the district, Eaton said. She said she did not know how many of those projects would be affected.

The district is obligated to provide new hookups to developers who have already paid water fees or have vested water rights. Vested rights can be established through building permits or development agreements with other government agencies that were signed by Monday.

Eaton and developers and homeowners said there is no way to predict the measure's effect on the region because it will depend on how long the drought persists. "Everybody is going to have to be on standby to see what Mother Nature is going to do," she said.

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