California Drought May Be Responsible for That Filmy Residue on Your "Clean" Dishes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    California's severe drought is forcing some water districts to pump ground water in order to serve its communities. The result has some Bay Area residents concerned with a film-like residue left on everything water touches, including kitchenware, sinks and shower tiles. Nannette Miranda reports.

    California's severe drought is forcing some water districts to pump ground water in order to serve its communities. The result has some Bay Area residents concerned with a film-like residue left on everything water touches, including kitchenware, sinks and shower tiles.

    In the South Bay, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is using ground water -- also known as "hard water" -- in addition to what is left in reservoirs to deliver to homes.

    "Ground water has more minerals than treated surface water," said Vanessa De La Piedra of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. "So what they're seeing on their dishes and glasses are basically mineral deposits -- primarily calcium and magnesium."

    Los Altos resident Crysta Krames said almost everything that comes out of the dishwasher comes out covered with a film, something she considers too embarrassing to serve to guests.

    Krames now washes her kitchenware by hand to make them look cleaner.

    "It is definitely extra water. It's not drought productive at all," she said. "But you're not going to serve people wine in a filmy glass."

    Officials said hard water is safe to drink. The Santa Clara Valley Water District cites a United States Geological Survey report that found 60 percent of the country uses hard water.

    Water softeners are available for several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

    An assistant manager at the Sunnyvale Lowe’s says that’s a small price to pay, considering hard water could shorten the life of pipes and water heaters when residue builds.