We must do our share to conserve precious water

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The Auburn Area Interfaith Earth Stewardship Coalition’s evening public forum on April 21 featured a presentation by Placer County Water Agency (PCWA). The forum was a follow-up to our January water conference, “Climate Change and California Water.” In my opinion, the presentation by PCWA was very well done. They explained their water delivery system in understandable detail, its history, how it was built, where it is located and what areas they service. They carefully explained their seven-tier rate structure and its evolution over the last 10 years, answering all questions from the audience so that all who attended completely understood this part of their business. Their progressive rate structure helps keep low-volume users’ rates affordable while providing incentives for conservation. Their efforts in maintaining and upgrading their system, from the canals to the residential water meters in efficient working order, are commendable. All of this requires capital expenditure, which is passed on to rate payers as fixed costs, as they should be. PCWA is a nonprofit agency operating a system for their ratepayers. Also impressive was the array of residential water conservation devices for which they offer incentives and the various educational programs they hold for the community. If only more residents would make use of them. While PCWA works to save every gallon of water on their end, if we are to have real conservation in a “new normal” future of less precipitation — regardless of the cause — and an ever-increasing Placer County population, residents must begin to do their part. Dams won’t bring more rain. About half of residential water use is for landscaping. Are residents willing to sacrifice thirsty landscaping to conserve water for the good of all residents, both locally and in our state? Dan G. Tajbl, Ph.D. Program Coordinator, Auburn Area Interfaith Earth Stewardship Coalition Auburn