City Encourages Customers To Be Water Users

CLEVELAND (AP) - When LTV Steel shut down in December, Cleveland lost its biggest water customer, with an $8 million annual bill.

Even though the Cleveland steel mill is restarting under new ownership, the city is promoting water use.

"I wish they would wash their cars more, and let the hose run, and water their lawns," Water Commissioner Julius Ciaccia said. "Don't be afraid of it. ... We have trillions of gallons of water here."

The city water system includes Cleveland and its suburbs.

Ciaccia said he does not advocate wasting the water Cleveland pumps from Lake Erie. But he is afraid that northeast Ohio residents needlessly conserve because of news of droughts elsewhere.

He said it's not only good to water lawns and gardens, but it also could help the city recover lost revenues. To that end, Ciaccia soon will insert lawn watering tips in the water bills.

Cleveland was counting on LTV Steel's money when it drafted a plan to keep water plants modern and 5,000 miles of pipes intact.

Water pipe breaks have been a frequent problem.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)