Mayor Villaraigosa Calls for Voluntary Water Conservation
June 6, 2007
Mayor Villaraigosa Calls for Voluntary Water Conservation
Angelenos Urged to Reduce Their Use by 10%
LOS ANGELES — Warning that another dry winter season could tip the balance of water supply toward drought conditions, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) today called on Angelenos to voluntarily reduce their personal water use by 10 percent. The Mayor also highlighted significant efforts underway at the City to reduce water use, while unveiling LA’s first recycled water irrigation system at Woodley Lakes Golf Course. In addition, he announced that LADWP will extend by two weeks a regional radio advertising campaign recently launched by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).
“Our record dry winter and low snowfall in the Eastern Sierra means we all have to do our part to cut back on our water use,” Villaraigosa said today during a press conference at Woodley Lakes Golf Course. “L.A. City Water & Power and MWD offer numerous rebates on water-saving devices and other programs to help you save water. Today I am asking every Angeleno to do their part and set a personal goal to use 10 percent less water.”
The Mayor cited numerous ways to save water, such as inspecting your plumbing for leaks and taking shorter showers. “For every leak you stop, you save 20 gallons of water a day. If you shorten your shower by even one or two minutes every day you can reduce your use by hundreds of gallons a month,” Villaraigosa said.
LADWP Board President H. David Nahai congratulated Los Angeles residents who already make a tremendous effort to save water. “The fact is that Angelenos are using the same amount of water today as we did 25 years ago, despite a population increase of 1 million people. But we cannot be complacent,” said Nahai. “We must continue to use water wisely and within our means of water availability. That means rather than seek out new sources of water, our goal is to meet future demand through conservation and other water saving measures,” he added.
A number of factors have converged to create particularly dry conditions. The water supply forecast for April through September 2007 indicates that the Eastern Sierra/L.A. Aqueduct watershed, where Los Angeles gets about half of its water during an average year, will be 48 percent of normal. The year-long projection (April through March) is a little better—59 percent of normal. In addition, the City experienced record low rainfall this season and may be in for another hot summer. The City’s water use averages about 670,000 acre-feet per year, and generally parallels the temperature.
Despite the dry season, LADWP and Metropolitan officials said they will be able to meet consumer demands this year, with the city expected to call on the bounty provided by last year’s snowpack, which exceeded a normal year by 145 percent.
The region also will benefit from the water storage projects and programs Metropolitan has developed over the past 15 years. Today, Metropolitan has more than 2.5 million acre-feet in surface and groundwater storage accounts, including Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County. As a comparison, during the last 1987-92 drought, Southern California only had 225,000 acre-feet of water stored at that time.
“Our investments in storage have made it possible to withstand a triple whammy of dry conditions affecting Southern California,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger, noting the record dry conditions in the Los Angeles area, the eighth year of drought in the Colorado River watershed, and the temporary shut off of the State Water Project pumps in Northern California.
“While we’ll be able to deliver enough water this year to meet everyone’s needs, it is not our practice to rest on our laurels. We can’t afford to dip into our emergency reserves with no guarantee that we will be able to replenish the bank right away. The water you save today may be the water we need next year,” Kightlinger said.
Kightlinger said LADWP’s commitment will allow Metropolitan to extend into July its ongoing an intensive, region-wide radio advertising campaign calling for consumers to save water. The campaign features traffic report spots on 91 radio stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, the Inland Empire and Ventura County, offering consumers easy-to-follow examples of how they can save water and stretch supplies during the hot summer months when water demands are at the highest.
One reason water use in the City has remained level while population increased is due to the success of LADWP’s water-saving toilet replacement program, through which the agency has provided and installed more than 1.3 million low-flush toilets over the past 16 years.
“The program has done what it was designed to do. We have reached a high degree of saturation and determined it is time to redirect those investment dollars,” said LADWP General Manager Ronald F. Deaton. “Going forward we are refocusing conservation programs to target outdoor water use – where we believe that we can achieve new water savings.” About 40 percent of the City’s water consumption is from outdoor uses, primarily landscaping.
LADWP already offers incentives of $1,000 (per acre controlled) for using weather-based (“smart”) irrigation controllers in large landscape settings, and is planning to roll out a smart irrigation controller program for residential customers later this year.
LADWP, working with L.A. City Department of Recreation and Parks and Metropolitan, will ramp up programs to install smart sprinkler controllers in City parks. LADWP will provide and install the smart controllers in 15 City parks through Prop. 50 grant of $362,000, beginning in July. LADWP and Recreation & Parks have already installed the smart controllers in 17 City parks through a pilot project. Another 40 City parks are targeted to receive smart controllers through an additional Prop. 50 grant.
In addition, the LADWP Board of Commissioners recently approved $1 million for this fiscal year and up to $3 million annually for extensive water efficiency measures at three City parks per year. These include the installation of smart controllers and high efficiency sprinkler heads, and repair or replacement of irrigation systems.
To encourage Los Angeles residents to save water, LADWP has increased the rebate to $250 for qualifying, high-efficiency clothes washers. Beginning with purchases made on or after April 1, 2007, the new rebate applies to eligible high-efficiency washers that can save up to 50 percent of the water required per load for conventional washing machines.
Washing machines have become the “thirstiest water using appliance in your house today,” said LADWP Water Conservation Manager Tom Gackstetter. “A high-efficiency clothes washer will save you up to 30 gallons of water per load; use less energy for water heating and clothes drying; save you up to $100 per year in water, sewer and energy costs; plus they qualify for a $250 rebate,” Gackstetter said.
Earlier this year, LADWP raised the incentive levels for a variety of water-saving devices designed for commercial customers. These include high-efficiency commercial clothes washers, commercial and multifamily ultra-low-flush and high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency urinals, and cooling tower conductivity controllers.
Officials said water recycling is an important component of saving future water supplies. LADWP has expanded water recycling for irrigation in the Sepulveda Basin, and began watering the entrance to Woodley Golf Course with recycled water in April. In July LADWP will use recycled water to irrigate all of Woodley Golf Course—saving 440 acre-feet, enough water for 880 households. Ultimately the program will save enough water for up to 4,000 households once all the golf courses and parks in the Sepulveda Basin are irrigated with recycled water.
To learn more about water conservation programs offered by LADWP and Metropolitan, and tips for indoor and outdoor water savings, please visit www.bewaterwise.com. Customers may also call 1-800-DIAL DWP or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about water conservation.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility, provides reliable, low-cost water and power services to Los Angeles residents and businesses in an environmentally responsible manner. LADWP services about 1.4 million electric customers and 680,000 water customers in Los Angeles.