October 20, 2008
WATER CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP EARN LADWP PLATINUM AWARD
Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies Honor Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for Water Conservation, 20-Year Water Strategy and Lower Owens River Project
LOS ANGELES — Water conservation achievements, the development of a 20-year water strategy for Los Angeles and the restoration of the Lower Owens River in the Eastern Sierra — three major water initiatives of the Department of Water and Power — earned it the 2008 Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) Platinum Award for 2008, AMWA announced today at its annual convention in New Orleans.
The award stated: “Through an effective water conservation program, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has maintained the same level of city water use provided 25 years ago despite a population increase of one million people. It also developed a blueprint for meeting the city’s future water needs solely through water recycling and conservation. The utility exercises environmental stewardship through implementation of the Lower Owens River Project, one of the world’s largest river ecosystem restoration projects.”
“We could not be more pleased with this award as it validates the visionary thinking, hard work and dedication that defines water resource management at the LADWP,” said CEO and General Manager David Nahai. “L.A.’s water future depends on our ability to adopt an ethic of sustainability and we are making every effort to achieve this goal. This award is a testament to the dedicated staff of our water system who work day and night year-round to provide the highest quality tap water to four million Angelenos.”
The Department, at the request of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, laid out a 20-year strategy in May to grow the city’s water resources with an unprecedented water recycling program that includes groundwater replenishment, expanding the “purple pipe” recycled water system and capturing more stormwater. Representing a more than $1.5 billion investment in infrastructure and conservation programs, the long-term plan will be funded by a combination of fees on industrial polluters, grants and LADWP funds already budgeted for the plan. In total the City will conserve or recycle enough water to fill 100,000 football fields — or the entire San Fernando Valley — with one foot deep of water, and enough water to supply 200,000 homes per year.
Also in the past year, the Department has aggressively stepped up enforcement of its Water Conservation Ordinance which, with coupled with a public awareness campaign and appliance rebates programs, has helped the city maintain water usage levels dating to the 1980s despite a population surge to 4.1 million Angelenos. Water-wise practices have helped achieve measurable water savings, particularly in regard to outdoor watering and increasing popularity of drought-tolerant landscaping as well as the replacement of home appliances and fixtures with water-efficient models. The Department also approved expanding its Water Conservation Team to 15 members who are dedicated to educating customers of the city’s Prohibited Water Uses and issuing citations where warranted to repeat abusers.
AMWA also singled out the LADWP for its work in cooperation with the County of Inyo in the Eastern Sierra, the location of the Los Angeles Aqueduct intake, where it has re-watered the Lower Owens River that had been dry since the Aqueduct opened in 1913. In the nearly two years since water has been able to flow again down a 62-mile stretch of the Owens River to the Owens Lake just south of Lone Pine, the rebound of native plants and wildlife has surprised even sceptics and has set a standard for river restoration projects nationwide. Nahai has termed the water release a momentous event in the City’s water history and its relations with the residents of Owens Valley, who have been at odds with the City over its water-gathering activities since the early 1900s.
The LADWP was one of 15 recipients of the AMWA Platinum Awards for Utility Excellence; another four utilities received Gold Awards. The attributes identified by the blue-ribbon panel of water and wastewater utility executives in evaluating utility performance include: product quality, customer satisfaction, employee and leadership development, operational optimization, financial viability, infrastructure stability, operational resiliency, community sustainability, water resource adequacy and stakeholder understanding and support.
“AMWA’s 2008 award winning water agencies are industry pace-setters, systems where management vision and employee commitment create sustainable utilities producing ample supplies of clean, safe water for their communities,” said AMWA President Brian Ramaley, Director of Newport News Water Works. “These systems have implemented a full range of successful initiatives that address all of the industry-recognized attributes of effectively managed utilities.”
Public Affairs, LADWP
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