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Water to be in shorter supply

Though stock will drop, city will be able to stave off rationing thanks to its amount stored, officials say.

October 10, 2007|By Ryan Vaillancourt

GLENDALE — While neighboring cities are considering imminent policy measures to curb water consumption, Burbank Water and Power officials say its ample reserves mean drastic measures are on hold.

Amid the driest rain year in recorded county history, state water woes were exacerbated on Aug. 31 when a federal judge ruled in favor of halting pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to protect an endangered fish.

The delta has depleted a third of the supply going to the Metropolitan Water District, which in turn provides up to half the water for the Crescenta Valley, 49% for Burbank and 70% for Glendale.

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The district on Monday warned that, in the event of a dry winter, its shortened supply increases the likelihood of mandatory rationing.

While Glendale and Crescenta Valley officials say rationing could be implemented as early as this winter in Burbank, the prospect of rationing is further in the future, said Ron Davis, Burbank Water and Power general manager.

“We probably aren’t looking at rationing right away, but maybe in one to three years,” Davis said. “Since 1991, the last major drought here in Southern California, there’s been a tenfold increase in storage of water both above and below ground, so we have a lot of storage compared to back then.”

The indefinite closure of the delta and resulting supply shortage is in dire need of a political solution in Sacramento, he said.

“This is a political problem, it’s not a local problem,” he said.

But because a political solution is likely far off, Burbank Water and Power will continue its efforts to encourage voluntary conservation, he said.

Glendale Water & Power and the Crescenta Valley Water District have also been pushing volunteer conservation efforts in the region to meet a 10% usage reduction goal, but that goal has not been met, officials said.

Glendale ratepayers reduced demand in January by 9%, but only held back enough in August to reduce usage by less than 5% from the same month last year, said Dan Waters, Glendale Water & Power interim director.

“Based on numbers we saw last month, I’m not too encouraged,” Waters said.

The increased August consumption does not necessarily mean that ratepayers slacked off compared with the previous month, he said.

The data more likely reflects warmer conditions this August compared with last, he said.

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