Officials Seek to Scrap Water-Saving Goals : Santa Clarita: Bigger state deliveries and new wells mean the area has an ample supply. Voluntary cuts of 25% had been urged.


Santa Clarita Valley water officials say the area has an ample supply of water and have urged the city to rescind a voluntary 25% conservation goal.

More water is available now than earlier this year because the state has increased water deliveries and new local wells have been dug, said Bill Manetta, president of the Santa Clarita Water Co., one of four local purveyors.

The state has also agreed to make available rainwater stored in the Castaic Lake reservoir, he said.

Moreover, residents have been conserving water and are expected to use about 12.5% less than they did last year, according to the water companies' estimates.

"The demand will be significantly less than the current supply," said Dan Masnada, vice president of Valencia Water Co., another local purveyor.

All five members of the Santa Clarita City Council said in interviews this week that they will vote to rescind the voluntary 25% cutback this month.

But council members said some prohibitions will remain in effect, such as the ban on hosing off sidewalks and driveways, and they will urge residents to keep conserving.

"We're in a fortunate position, but if you let people waste water without urging them to conserve, you're not being a good citizen of California," said Valerie Lynn Rohrer, a member of the city's drought committee, which the council established this year to monitor the local water situation.

In contrast, Los Angeles residents must reduce the amount of water they use by 15% from 1986 levels or face stiff fines.

The suburban valley has weathered the drought better than Los Angeles and other communities because it relied on local wells to supply about half the 44,000 acre-feet it used last year.

In February, when the state announced 90% cutbacks because of the drought, the council asked residents to use a quarter less water. It also prohibited practices such as hosing off sidewalks and driveways, and limited landscape watering to every other day.

The water companies immediately drilled eight new wells to tap into the Saugus Aquifer, significantly increasing the annual yield, Manetta said.

Then, the state agreed to release the local flood flows from Castaic Lake, and in August doubled its water deliveries to the valley.

By the end of the year, the supply of water is expected to exceed the demand by about 6,071 acre-feet, Manetta said. That's enough water to supply about 10,000 more families, Manetta said.

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