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

Water Cuts Coming to SM


September 1, 2014

Santa Monica has begun implementing an array of programs to prompt residents and businesses to conserve water voluntarily, as mandatory cuts will happen later this year.

The details of the Stage 2 water emergency will be discussed at an Oct. 28 City Council meeting, according to theSanta Monica Daily Press.

Tom Fleming, an account executive with Sustainable Works Business Greening program, told the newspaper that drought-awareness campaigns have been influential in spurring businesses to save water.

“With the drought in the headlines, we do find more interested business saying they want to save water,” Fleming said.

He said that the major source of consumption among residents, and to a large degree for businesses, is landscaping. To that end, Santa Monica offers a rebate program for lawn removal. Lawns under 2,000 square feet can fetch up to $3,000, whereas large landscapes, with more than that amount of square-footage, require seeking the regional program’s $2 per-square-foot rebate -- with no cap on the rebate amount.

Businesses are also doing their part. Downtown Santa Monica Inc., a nonprofit consortium that manages and promotes downtown, opted to turn off the dinosaur shrubbery fountains on the Third Street Promenade and additionally, began sweeping parking structures rather than hosing them, among other water-saving measures.

“The drought is a serious threat and we must be careful about every drop of water we use,” Kathleen Rawson, the nonprofit’s CEO, told the Daily Press. “We have eliminated pressure-washing in the parking structure, replacing that with methods that use far less water, and hope shutting down the fountains can serve as an effective public service message. Every little bit helps.”

Santa Monica, however, has a limit to the funds in its pool.

“The rebate funding is first come, first served,” Kim O’Cain, Office of Sustainability and Water Resources Specialist, told the newspaper.

offeredver 2,000 square feet go through the regional program and qualify for a rebate of with no maximum on the total.

However, she said the rebate programs are drawing from a limited pool and that customers who begin the process now, prior to an expected rush once the mandatory cuts hit, are more likely to qualify.

O’Cain said some of the mandatory measures coming in October will have a visible impact such as prohibiting restaurants from offering water.

“We can provide signage to help educate the customers,” she said. “We’re working on more outreach education efforts that will be rolled out over the next few months, O’Cain said.


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