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Wasteful median improvements

Posted: August 1, 2009 5:54 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
A sign on Wiley Canyon Road announcing a median landscape improvement project recently captured my attention.

The sign indicated that the improvements would cost $450,000 and were being implemented for beautification and to save approximately 1 million gallons of water annually.

For years I have enjoyed the beauty of driving on Wiley Canyon Road, especially when the leaves were turning color in the fall.

This is already a beautiful section of road.

Surely beautification couldn't have been the main reason for working on the median.

Perhaps saving water was the primary goal.

One million gallons of water annually sounds like a big number.

In order to calculate the water savings I checked my water bill to find the cost of water.

My monthly bill from Valencia Water Company indicated that the cost for one CCF (100 cubic feet) was $1.102.

Since one CCF is 748 gallons, the median project is saving 1,337 CCF annually.

The total annual water savings comes to a mere $1,473. In other words, this project is spending $450,000 to realize a savings of $1,473 per year. Ignoring interest, this amounts to a 305-year payout.

Practically speaking, the project will never pay out.

Regardless of whether the funding for this project comes from the city, county, state or federal government, this is a very inefficient use of funds.

Road beautification and water savings are commendable goals, but they should be accomplished in a financially prudent manner.

Hopefully, this project can be reconsidered, and the majority of the funds saved for something both necessary and sensible.


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