Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

City Calls for Voluntary 20% Water Use Reduction

 

January 27, 2014

A Water Shortage Advisory calling for voluntary conservation was declared by the City Council in 2009 in response to the drought. The Advisory is still in effect. Today City Officials are asking residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce water use 20% from 2013 usage in an effort for the community to become water self-sufficient and avoid a drought induced water crisis and mandatory water restrictions.

"With the driest year in recorded history and the second drought in five-years to be declared by the Governor, it is imperative that Santa Monica use its water supplies efficiently," Mayor Pam O'Connor stated. "The Governor's call for a 20% reduction in water use as a response to the drought dovetails with the City's goal for water self-sufficiency by 2020. Due to the drought, these reductions need to happen now to avoid mandatory water reductions later this year. Water self-sufficiency means eliminating our reliance on imported water, using our limited local groundwater wisely and efficiently, and optimally managing our local water supply."

Currently the City of Santa Monica maintains the capability of producing more than 70% of its water needs from local groundwater, with the remainder imported and purchased from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). MWD receives the majority of its supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River, both of which have been significantly impacted by drought. Although MWD expects to meet demands in 2014 because of significant investments in water storage, water transfers, and conservation in preparation for dry years, they too are encouraging customers to use water wisely and efficiently and for cities like Santa Monica to develop additional local water supplies.

If drought conditions continue into the summer and groundwater levels drop, water use reductions are not met, and/or MWD restricts its supplies, the City could implement its Stage 1 Water Shortage which would trigger Water Use Allowances for each water customer including residents and businesses. Customers would be allocated a certain amount of water during the billing period adjusted for seasonal variations, and a penalty would be assessed for water use exceeding the allocation. Businesses would be allocated 95% of their previous year's average water usage.

Water self-sufficiency takes commitment and investment. Many residents and businesses have already taken steps to manage their own water use more efficiently. In 2013, more than 400 rebates were provided for water savings products with an estimated 3 million gallons of water savings. Rebates are available for installing sustainable landscaping, water-saving drip irrigation and sprinklers, rain barrels, cisterns, toilets, urinals and much more. There are larger rebates for businesses including fitness centers, laundromats, and public agencies. Saving water can be easy and inexpensive.

Here are 3 top ways to save water:

Check for and fix leaks. Running toilets are very common and are often ignored but can waste thousands of gallons each day.

Cut back on watering your garden.

Replace your toilet. All new toilets sold in California are 20% more efficient than models sold in 2013. A $50 rebate is available until June for toilets with a WaterSense label.

Residents and businesses can visit http://www.sustainablesm.org/water or call (310) 458-8459 for more details about rebates and saving water.

 

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