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Ripon water use creeping back up
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The City of Ripon appears to be drifting further from the state water conservation goal.

Ted Johnston, who’s the Director of Public Works, reported at the recent Ripon City Council meeting that water usage for the month of August was down 26.7 percent, using the baseline established in 2013.

The goal, however, is for cities such as Ripon to achieve the state mandate of 36 percent amid the severe drought conditions.

“Unfortunately the last three months water savings have been on the decline,” said Johnston, pointing out that Ripon isn’t the only city experiencing this trend.

Looking back, Ripon’s water usage was 32.4 percent for June and 30.8 percent for July.

Johnston indicated that staff has been researching and compiling numbers to determine where the water is being used.

“The City has increased outreach efforts by increasing the hours of the Water Conservation Coordinators, adding night patrol to catch water violators, providing informational workshops and vendor booths at events, sending out information flyers in water bills and signage about conservation around town in forms of banners and yard signs,” he said.

Johnston added that it’s important for folks to step on their efforts of reaching that state mandate goal. “If the problem cannot be located and savings do not increase the State will come in and add more mandates,” he said.

Councilman Mike Restuccia is hopeful that the numbers will be reduced once water meters are finally installed on the non-metered homes.

In this case, the Badger meter system, which is set up to help cities track and compile more information on water usage.

“The meters will be the key in tracking and hopefully creating more water savings,” Johnston said.

 There’s also Nixle. This private communications corporation services government agencies in sending messages to local residents via telephone, email and web.

“Nixle could be used to send out water conservation notices and reminders (to residents) about the drought,” said Dan Brannon, who is the City’s Information Systems Technician.

 Staff will continue to enforce, compiling a top 10 percent of water users while reaching out to them with possibly increased penalties, Johnston said.

The City, in addition, could look to hire more staff on the matter or opt for reducing the number of water days.