Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water went to waste in California at a time when water conservation efforts are more serious than ever for the drought-stricken state.
The mayor of Poway, a city in San Diego County, defended the decision to dump 550,000 gallons of drinking water into a nearby canyon, according to ABC affiliate KGTV.
“It was a perfect storm of conservation and heat,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus told KGTV.
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In an ironic twist, the reason so much water was lost was because of conservation efforts. The water sat in the Blue Crystal Reservoir for too long, according to KGTV. Heat created a chemical imbalance of chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia used to disinfect drinking water, making the water, according to state regulations, unsafe to drink.
“I think it’s a shame, the city should have prepared better for it,” said resident Helen Shelden.
More than 500,000 gallons of water can reportedly supply four households for a year.
Vaus said the water was dumped rather than being put back in the lake where it came from, because it would be too expensive.
“This was just an unfortunate consequence that pains us, but we want to keep our people healthy,” Vaus said.
The mayor said the water wasted is a small amount compared to what residents use annually, according to KGTV.
The City of Poway did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.