CORTE MADERA, Calif. (KCBS) _ Marin water officials are facing a multi-million dollar budget shortfall and part of the problem is that residents aren’t using enough water.

The down economy has kept many buildings in their coverage area unoccupied, so there’s less water usage there.

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The district’s conservation message has also taken hold, as people are just scaling back their consumption.

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And Marin Municipal Water District General Manager Paul Helliker said
Mother Nature has also been an issue.

“We had late rains this spring. April was 300 percent of normal rainfall,” said Helliker. “So far, it’s been the coolest summer in 40 years.”

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All that adds up to a 15 percent drop in water usage over the past 18 months and a $6-8 million shortfall, which is about 10 percent of the district’s operating budget.

Helliker said they’ve been well aware of the situation for the past several months.

“So what we’re doing is what everybody’s doing. We’re looking at cutting back on expenses that we can cut back on,” he said.

Helliker said plans are in the works to keep 12 currently vacant positions vacant and all non-essential travel has been canceled.

A rate increase is also a possibility, but unlikely since the board already raised rates back in March.

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All of these options and more will be up for debate at a board meeting on August 18.