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Sacramento Approves Sale Of Up To 3 Billion Gallons of Water After Declaring 'Water Alert'

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The City of Sacramento says it has too much water and it's going to make millions of dollars selling it to other parts of the state, despite already declaring a "water alert" for the summer and doubling fines for water-wasting violators.

The city council approved the sale of up to $5 million of its water.

The 10,000 acre-feet up for sale is equal to more than 3 billion gallons. That's 60 million bathtubs full and enough to supply water to 30,000 households for a year.

But does this sale send the wrong message with calls for Sacramentans to conserve?

"So I think the important thing to know there is the messages can be in parallel, right?" said Carlos Eliason, a spokesperson for the Department of Utilities. "We are asking people to reduce their water use. We're asking people to reduce there water use by up to 20%."

Sacramento will now send more of its surface water downstream to other areas of the state that buy it, and use pumps to fill Sacramento's pipes with more groundwater from city aquifers.

"That's what irks me because they're selling it to Southern California and they're using all they want and we have to restrict our use," Sacramento resident Joe Lopez said.

"Water always comes down to money," Sacramento resident Karen Lopez said.

The city says it expects the groundwater to be replenished when wetter conditions prevail, and it will put most of the profits from the water sale back into groundwater programs and infrastructure.

"I think what I can say is there is that we're in a good position to be able to meet the water needs of our customers," Eliason said.

The Department of Utilities says because the city will be using more groundwater in its drinking supply — some people might notice that it tastes different.

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