Casitas, Golden State officials do agree on one thing

081516 shoreline

Ojai Valley News photo by Tim Dewar

There is nothing like falling lake levels to bring two disparate agencies together.

Bill Warner, Ojai Valley News reporter

As much at odds as the Golden State Water Company (GSWC) and the Casitas Municipal Water District (CMWD) might be over the issue of eminent domain, the two appear to be in complete agreement when it comes to the gravity of drought.

With Lake Casitas at 38.4 percent capacity and the groundwater in the Ojai Basin reaching historic lows, GSWC Vice President of Operations Pat Scanlon and CMWD General Manager Steve Wickstrum, along with CMWD Water Conservation manager Ron Merckling, sat down with the Ojai Valley News Aug. 9 and talked about the current and future demands of our thirsty environment.

“Our Ojai customers have done a wonderful job in conserving water,” Scanlon said, “until recently.” Water consumption has risen statewide, he said, perhaps the result of the high summer temperatures, perhaps because of complacency over El Nino. He indicated a map contrasting the severity of drought in California for the summers of 2015 and 2016. Whereas some northerly parts of the state received some relief during the past rainy season, a significant portion — including the Ojai Valley — did not. On top of that, Scanlon said, Ojai customers used 12 million gallons of water more from May through July than they consumed in the same time period in 2015. “We are in a much worse condition than a year ago,” he said. “That's part of the message we want people to understand.”

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