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Water use up 16% in Ripon
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For the second straight month, the City of Ripon had increased water usage.

Ted Johnston, who is director of Public Works, reported that increase at 16 percent from a year ago.

“We had a wetter March (2014),” he said at Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting.

Johnston indicated that most cities are using 2013 as a baseline on water usage during this current state-wide drought. Along those lines, he pointed out that Ripon would be at a 21 percent decrease when using the March 2015 figures to that of two years ago.

Last month, the City showed its first increase since the strict water conservation ordinance was implemented following Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate on 20 percent reduction per household.

“The Governor will soon reveal his new (water conservation) requirements,” Johnston said. “We’re waiting to get some clarifications.”

Ripon’s water conservation efforts had shown a steady decrease over the past six months, reaching a 34 percent reduction in January.

But in February, Johnston reported a 9 percent increase, reasoning that perhaps the early good weather may have contributed to folks turning on their sprinkler systems to manage their landscape, which accounts for 20 to 50 percent of residential water consumption.

When it comes to the play features at the Mistlin Sports Complex coupled with the Mistlin fountain, Johnston said that both use a re-circulated water system. “We’re not sure how much (water) is lost through evaporation,” he said.

Johnston added that the majority of the city parks are irrigated using non-potable water.

In addition, he said Ripon is on the verge of hiring a part-time Water Coordinator to provide peak time monitoring as well as education to residents. The person in this position will also audit high water users with hopes of providing them with ways to save.