Summer blamed for rise in water use

Signal file photo

For the second straight month, Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers have used more water than they did a year ago, a trend that has not gone unnoticed by local water officials committed to water conservation who point to a long hot summer.

In a water resources report prepared for board members of the SCV Water agency in advance of their meeting Tuesday night, the agency’s Assistant General Manager Steve Cole puts the rise in water use into a predrought perspective.

Water officials put part of the blame on a long, particularly hot summer.

“We recognize that warmer weather, increased economic activity and some slipping of water-efficiency practices by consumers have contributed to higher water uses,” said  Matt Dickens, SCV Water resource conservation manager Monday.

“With the shorter days and cooler temperatures of fall, we encourage customers to reduce their irrigation runtimes and consider replacing thirsty lawns with water-efficient plants and drip irrigation. SCV Water offers a range of programs to help customers save water, reduce their monthly water bills and improve efficiency,” Dickens said.

The SCV Water board meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the agency’s Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant overlooking Central Park on Bouquet Canyon Road.

In terms of the ongoing domestic water demands of SCV ratepayers, 2018 demands began approaching 2013 pre-drought levels earlier this year.

Water demands in the spring months had moderated, according to a report to be presented to the board Tuesday, but exceeded last year’s levels in July and again in August.

In Cole’s report, the “trend of demand rebound” has continued to climb since the drought ended two years ago.

Before the three-year drought in 2013, SCV ratepayers demanded 73,460 acre-feet of water, according to the SCV Water Production 2018 chart.

“The SCV Water Production 2018 chart notes the current month water production compared to last year and the now obsolete drought baseline year of 2013,” Dickens said.

“A new report format will be available soon, which will demonstrate our progress towards the (state) SBx7-7 goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2020,” he said.

In 2014, as the drought deepened and conservation programs such as the Turf Replacement Program were vigorously promoted the demand for water fell to 68,178 acre-feet per year.

At the height of the most recent drought, in 2015, the demand for SCV Water hit its lowest point with just 54,491 acre-feet of water used.

In 2016, demand rose slightly to 57,966 acre-feet a year.  An acre-foot of water is about the same as a football field flooded with 1 foot of water.

Last year, showed another increase in the local demand of water (63,555 acre-feet per year.)

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