L.A.'s water rationing pays off
City’s tough conservation efforts have reduced water consumption by almost 20 percent.
Tue, Dec 08, 2009 at 04:14 PM
Photo: ZUMA Press
Brown lawns and dirty cars are a small price to pay for reducing water consumption. At least, that’s what the residents of Los Angeles believe, according to a recent LA Times piece.
Last June, the city enacted tough conservation efforts to help preserve the area’s limited water resources, which include limiting lawn watering to two days a week for 15 minutes. This can only be done before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
In addition, residents are no longer allowed to clean their driveways or sidewalks by dousing them with a hose — a measure that will no doubt please those annoyed with the blatant water waste that comes with flooding the sidewalks. However, car washing is permitted, as long as the hose has a shut-off nozzle. The city’s Department of Water and Power (DWP) has also reduced the amount of water customers can buy at a cheap price.
Though many of these measures seem small, the combined efforts of L.A. residents to conserve has amounted to a boon in water savings. According to the DWP, between June and October water usage decreased 18.4 percent, an amount that's especially impressive considering that these dry months are the ones where the most water is used.
According to the article, this marks the lowest water consumption in Los Angeles in the last 18 years even though the population has grown by about half a million.
"Living in a desert-like environment with a limited water supply, it is imperative that we limit our water consumption and get smarter about our water use," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I'm proud of Angelenos and thank them for answering the call and helping us save record amounts of water over the past five months."
Kudos for conservation!
Best of all, other California cities are following suit. Beverly Hills, Huntington Beach, Long Beach and other areas of Southern California are reducing their water consumption by the double digits in an effort to make the best of a three-year drought.
The success of the program is due, in part, to the steep fines given to those who violate the L.A.'s new conservation rules. Fines are $100 for residential violations and $200 for commercial properties.
The DWP’s water police is able to crack down on some of the violators with the help of residents who file complaints through e-mail, phone calls and Twitter messages.
Though the biggest cutback in DWP water usage came from government customers, who lowered usage by 28.8 percentage, residents didn’t fair too poorly themselves. Single-family houses reduced consumption by 23 percent, commercial property by about 15 percent and multifamily residential by 15 percent.