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Drought causes water shortage fears

Officials ask for continued conservation 'just in case'

Posted: May 17, 2009 9:24 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2009 8:00 a.m.
With summer on its way, local water agencies are ramping up efforts to convince residents to conserve.

The Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers is pushing for increased water conservation efforts, said Dan Masnada, Castaic Lake Water Agency general manager.

The agency includes the Newhall County Water District, the Valencia Water Company, Los Angeles County Waterworks District 36, wholesaler Castaic Lake Water Agency and its retail arm, Santa Clarita Water Division.

"We are in the third year of a drought and we don't know if this is the last year, or the middle of a seven-year drought like we had in the late 1980s and early '90s," Masnada said.

Previous efforts to save water have not been enough to conserve water and the Family of Water Suppliers is asking for increased conservation in anticipation of future demand and a prolonged shortage of water, said Steve Cole, Newhall County Water District general manager.

"The suppliers have pro-actively worked together to prepare for these drought conditions," he said.

The Family of Water Suppliers is asking residents to continue voluntary water conservation efforts that began six months ago, Masnada said.

"Late last year we asked people to conserve to ensure we had enough water for this year. We are asking for more conservation in case the rest of this year, and next year, turns out to be dry," he said.

The conservation measures include a reduction of outdoor watering to no more than three times per week, watering during early-morning hours and for no more than 10 minutes at each watering station around the home and sweeping sidewalks, instead of washing them down.

The need for water conservation is important, but Masnada insists the drought hasn't reached crisis level yet.

"We don't envision mandatory rationing this summer or next," he said. "The reason we are asking for this level of conservation is we can't predict the future."


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