SCV water users make serious consumption cuts

(The following appeared in the August 5 Santa Clarita Valley Signal.)

When the going gets tough because state water officials want more and more water saved, Santa Clarita Valley residents get going to conserve their assigned amount and then some, the latest water-saving numbers show.

Santa Clarita Valley’s three main water retailers report July water savings that across-the-board exceeded conservation benchmarks set by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Residents who get their water from the Valencia Water Company helped the water purveyor save more than 494 million gallons of water in July alone, company General Manager Keith Abercrombie said.

The company reported water savings of 40.4 percent compared to what its customers used in July 2013.

“These figures, along with the healthy conservation numbers last month, demonstrate that Valencia Water Company’s customers have heeded the call for conservation and are continuing to conserve,” Abercrombie said Tuesday.

“Maintaining this degree of focus over the next few months should allow us to meet the conservation targets given to us by the State Water Resources Control Board,” he said.

Likewise, residents who receive their water from the Santa Clarita Water Division helped that retailer reduce water use 39 percent compared to July 2013, the division Retail Administrative Officer Elizabeth Ooms-Graziano said Tuesday.

“It’s obviously good news that our customers are conserving 39 percent and SCWD is meeting the 32 percent mandate to avoid possible penalties,” she said. “SCWD is encouraging customers to continue their efforts because July’s conservation numbers were helped by unseasonable rainfall, which will likely not be the case the rest of this summer.”

The Santa Clarita Valley’s third main water retailer, Newhall County Water District, reported a 34 percent water use reduction for July 2015 compared to the same month in 2013.

State water officials, assessing what each water agency in California should be conserving, required Newhall to cut its water use by 28 percent through February 2016.

“July is among the hottest, most water-intense months of the year, but our residents and businesses hit their mark,” Newhall district General Manager Steve Cole said Monday.

In June, six months into the declared drought, Brown issued non-mandatory state guidelines for Californians to cut water use by 20 percent.

Then in April, after joining surveyors on a visit to the Sierra Nevada snow packs and finding the lowest snow level there in 65 years of record-keeping, the governor ordered statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in California history.

Brown called for a 25 percent statewide mandatory water use reduction among urban businesses and residences compared to their 2013 consumption numbers.

Since then, Santa Clarita Valley residents have been rising to each water-saving challenge.

July conservation numbers were higher than those reported for June and, likewise, higher than those reported for May compared to April.

In June, SCV water users surpassed the governor’s target for 25 percent water savings compared to June 2013.

Valencia Water Company, Santa Clarita Water Division and Newhall County Water District each reported water savings over and above the 25-percent-better-than-2013 mandate imposed by Brown in April.

Valencia and SCWD reported a 33 percent reduction in water use for June compared to June 2013m while Newhall County Water District logged a 28 percent water use reduction for June 2015 compared to the same month in 2013.
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