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Festival a reminder to conserve

Community: Hundreds come out to Central Park in Saugus on Saturday for a celebration of Mother Earth

Posted: April 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Luciano Verga, 8, center, and Calla Coulter, 5, touch a robot made of recycled materials by local artist Dave Barron at the City of Santa Clarita Earth Arbor Day Festival event held at Central Park in Saugus on Saturday.

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The most popular thing about the trees of City of Santa Clarita Earth Arbor Day Festival 2011 appeared to be the shade they provided to hundreds turning out for the environment.

As temperatures in the mid-80s reminded most at Central Park in Saugus on Saturday that we live in sunny Southern California, it also reminded many that we live in a place where water is scarce.

“A lot of people are concerned how they can save money and save water — in that order,” said Karen Denkinger, event coordinator for the Castaic Lake Water Agency, who manned a shaded booth at the all-day annual event hosted by local water suppliers and the city of Santa Clarita.

The most popular item handed out at the water agency booth was the 5 Minute Shower Time  — a finger-sized hourglass set inside a plastic dial and fastened to a suction cup.

The timer’s message: You should be out of the shower before the sand runs out.

“It doesn’t shut your water off, but it does tell you when your five minutes are up,” Denkinger said.

Joining her under the same tent were representatives of the Valencia Water Company and the Newhall County Water District, two local water retailers.

The water division handed out tiny measuring cups instead of shower timers, but the message was the same: conserve water.

Are people really going to use a measuring cup to save water?

Division spokesman Robert McLaughlan admitted: “No, … But if you give somebody something they’re going to use, they’re going to remember to save water.”

As event participants strolled from tent to tent, many carrying tiny potted plants, it was evident that many Santa Clarita Valley residents take environmental issues seriously.

Many participated in a half-dozen “interactive zones” designed to promote information about trees, water and energy.

And while the unmistakable message at this year’s event was that water in Santa Clarita Valley is scarce, some like Dan Jimenez heard also that local water is hard.

Jimenez, president of Santa Clarita Water Conditioning, said he enjoyed enthusiastic response from visitors to his booth concerned about softening their mineral-heavy water.

“When people come here with questions they’re either dealing with hard water, or they’re complaining about taste and odor,” he said, standing behind a table covered with glossy pamphlets advertising various water softeners.

“Or they’re complaining about skin issues,” he said. “Eczema, that’s a big issue out here. Those are my major complaints. Those are the top three.”

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