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Calling all water customers...

Did you hear the news? The drought is over, or so we figured out Tuesday when the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California issued a statement from General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger in anticipation of the state making just such an announcement.

In his news release, Kightlinger — while cautioning us that long-term challenges are still ahead — said the storms we’ve had in recent months have “eased the short-term water management challenges” and that “tremendous conservation and water use efficiency efforts throughout the region” have allowed the MWD to boost the amount of water stored to a level that apparently eases concerns.

Despite last fall’s predictions we would have a dry winter, we didn’t. According to the records we pull from Descanso Gardens, La Cañada Flintridge has seen nearly 31 inches of rain since Oct. 1. To help you assess how respectable a number that is, during the same period in 2009-10 we received 27.36 inches; 2008-2009 saw 12.83; 25.76 inches fell in 2007-08; and a paltry 5.32 inches spritzed the area between October 2007 and April 1, 2008.

So much for La Niña’s effect this year, at least as far as California is concerned. We’d expected the weather phenomena that typically leaves the Southwest high and especially dry to drop a lot less water here during our 2010-11 winter.

“The deck is stacked for a dry winter, as long as this La Niña continues to develop and strengthen,” JPL’s eminently quotable climatologist Bill Patzert told us last June.

You’ll hear no complaints from me that La Niña wimped out. I was sweating it out a little when I heard our outdoor irrigation would be banned for 10 days this month in order to accommodate some infrastructure work . For good measure, I saturated our garden the day before the restrictions went into effect. Then, minutes into what I’d feared might be a parched stretch, storms began arriving and the clouds pretty much hovered over us until the restrictions were lifted Monday.

Of course the big bonus when you don’t have to water your garden is that you also don’t have to write as big a check to the water agency that serves your home. Whether motivated by frugality or environmental concerns, it looks like people are doing a pretty good job of using water wisely.

We’d hate to see any of those gains evaporate. At the paper we’ve become increasingly fascinated by the whole subject of the water delivered to our homes and businesses. We’re interested in everything that’s going on from the point where Foothill Municipal Water District sells this necessary resource to the retail water agencies that serve our community. We want to know more about conservation efforts and would like to be able to clearly explain why water flowing to one La Cañada property might cost more than the same amount delivered to someone else’s home and garden.

Staff writer Joe Piasecki has been assigned the task of studying up on the subject and laying it all out for you, starting with today’s story on a local woman who makes the most of collected rainwater. Would you have some time to help him?

Specifically, we’re looking for input from people who live in La Cañada Flintridge and whose homes are served by Valley Water Co., Mesa Crest Water Co., La Cañada Irrigation District and Crescenta Valley Water District. We would welcome information on how much you spend on water each month, whether you think that’s a reasonable amount, what conservation efforts you may be taking or considering and ways you think service could improve.

Please contact Joe if you’re willing to share this information. He can be reached via e-mail at Better yet, call his desk now at (818) 495-4172.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the Valley Sun. She can be reached at or