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Calling all water customers...

March 30, 2011|By Carol Cormaci

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.

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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.

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