Los Angeles water use plummets during drought-ridden summer

Amid record drought and calls to drastically reduce water use across California, Los Angeles residents saved 6 billion gallons during the hottest summer months, officials said Monday. responsible.

From June through September, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers used 6 billion gallons less water than during the same period last year.

Usage is lowest among the city’s nearly 4 million residents during those summer months since record-keeping began at the agency in the early 1970s, said Marty Adams, chief executive. of the LAWDP.

“We’ve had a 9% year-over-year reduction on top of what we’ve done in previous years,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference at the Museum of Natural History. LA County, touting water conservation numbers.

LADWP customers reduced their water consumption by 9% in June, 11% in July, 10% in August and 9% in September, which equates to record low consumption in those months.

“We’ve certainly accomplished a lot,” Adams said at the press conference.

Still, politicians and water experts have urged residents to do more as hopes for a wet winter look unlikely with another year of dry La Niña conditions in the forecast.

The announcement comes after three consecutive months of record reductions in water use following unprecedented restrictions that took effect in June across the state. At the time, nearly 4 million Angelenos were subject to twice-weekly outdoor watering rules.

The restrictions were triggered when the region’s huge water wholesaler, Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District, declared a water shortage emergency. The State Water Project, which delivers water from northern California to farmland and southern cities, cut its allocation from 15% to 5% this year.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, right, and Lori Bettison-Varga, president and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, stroll through the museum’s 3.5-acre natural gardens on Monday.

(Dorany Pineda/Los Angeles Times)

Adams and Garcetti suggested that some of LADWP’s residential water conservation rebates and programs — including soil moisture sensors, water-efficient toilets and washers, and lawn replacement — have helped. to conservation efforts.

Garcetti announced last week that LADWP will increase rebates from $3 to $5 per square foot for residential and commercial customers when they replace their lawns with drought-resistant plants.

“It’s the time of year to get your lawn out and replace it with California-friendly landscapes,” which include plants native to the state, southwestern United States, Mediterranean regions, Australia and Mexico, Adams said.

Since 2009, LA has replaced more than 51 million square feet of lawn and saved more than 2.3 billion gallons of water in the process, Garcetti said, enough to supply water to more than 28,000 homes for a year.

While conservation continues to play an important and immediate role in the region’s response, water experts said improved recycling and infrastructure – along with improved responses from business, industry and government – will be needed to reduce the water dependence of Northern California and Colorado. River, a key water source for Southern California.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, chairman of the city’s energy, climate change, environmental justice and river committee, said the city could do more. He is pushing for on-site gray water reuse systems for new developments over 100,000 square feet and solar panels across the Los Angeles Aqueduct in an effort to reduce water evaporation.

Although a massive storm will bring rain and snow to the area this week, Adams stressed that residents should embrace long-term water conservation efforts.

“Last year we had a lot of rain in December and then nothing – nothing happened after that,” he said. “We know this year has been a tough year and next year will be a tough year. There’s no getting around that. So…we have to protect our way of life.

Experts say that while conservation efforts are helpful, they are not enough to sustain long-term water use in the region.

“We need to stop thinking this is a response to this drought and recognize that these droughts are becoming more frequent and more severe,” Heather Cooley, research director at the Pacific Institute, previously told The Times. “The actions we take now – and will continue to take even after this drought is over – will be important for the future.”

Times writer Hayley Smith contributed to this report.

Los Angeles Times

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