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Water usage up 13.5 percent in SCV

Posted: July 8, 2008 1:03 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Conservation? What conservation?

Santa Clarita Valley residents are using more water instead of less since local water officials asked them to start conserving two months ago, according to the latest figures tallied by the Santa Clarita Water Co.

In its monthly water sales report prepared for its parent company, the Castaic Lake Water Agency, the local water purveyor reported an increase in water sales over the same period last year and a steady increase every month since March.

The numbers were prepared for a meeting of the agency's Retail Operations Committee Monday night at the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant on Bouquet Canyon Road overlooking Central Park.

"There's only so much water," Dan Masnada, the water agency's general manager, said prior to last night's meeting.

"You have to take that report, when you compare usage year to year, and you have to look at growth, you have to look at weather patterns - maybe it's been a little hotter this year - all these things to determine if people are conserving or not."

On May 1, Masnada and other local water officials, including a representative of the Department of Water Resources who travelled here from Sacramento, held a news conference inside the gardening section at Home Depot to launch the Ten Percent conservation program, calling on residents to reduce water usage by 10 percent.

Those words may have fallen on barren soil, as it were, if the numbers were to be taken at face value.
Water sales figures show that just over 28,000 residents - representing those who actually purchased their water from the Santa Clarita Water Co. - used more water during the month of May than any month so far this year.

Instead of cutting back water usage by 10 percent, Santa Clarita Valley residents used 13.5 percent more water than the same time last year.

Except for February, water usage by the same number of consumers has gone up every month.
Roughly 28,000 residents purchased the following amounts of water from the Santa Clarita Water Co. this year:

- $1,184,380 in January
- $1,093,840 in February
- $1,216,165 in March
- $1,764,880 in April
- $1,795,295 in May

Since Masnada and the other water officials kicked off the conservation campaign at Home Depot two months ago, residents paid 1.73 percent more for water in the 30 days that followed that kickoff, compared to the month preceding it.

The key to effective conservation is getting the word out that water is precious, Masnada said.
"There's been more outreach in that respect," he said. "I'm optimistic in the sense that people will perform if we get the message out there and reinforce (conservation).

"Essentially, we have to establish a lifestyle change and make people realize that water is a precious resource."

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