Local Water Conservation Slows

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Water use in the local service area last month was down 16% compared with usage levels during July 2013 and 2014, but usage rose by 25% compared with last June, when mandatory conservation requirements were in place and local water suppliers were tasked with cutting back by as much as 36%.
That’s according to the Foothill Municipal Water District, which serves La Cañada Flintridge and neighboring communities. FMWD blamed the increase from last year on hotter temperatures and lack of rain.
As of June 1, the state changed its conservation mandates in favor of what the State Water Board calls “stress tests” that allow urban suppliers to replace the state standards with locally determined measures that will demonstrate that they have adequate supplies to withstand three additional dry years.
Water suppliers that pass their stress test won’t face state-mandated conservation standards through January 2017. In the meantime, they are all expected to keep conserving water to build long-term drought resilience.
“Water that is not used this year will go into storage for use in future drought years,” FMWD Board President Richard Atwater said in a news release.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has about 5 million acre-feet of space available for water storage, FMWD reported, and it’s projected that there will be about 1.5 million acre-feet (or about 326,000 gallons, or enough for two households) of water in storage at the end of 2016.
Locally, FMWD customers served by the La Cañada Irrigation District used 17% less water last month than they did in the July 2013-14 average, Mesa Crest Water District accounted for 7% less use in that period and Valley Water Co. customers used 12% less. Crescenta Valley Water District, which serves a portion of western LCF, registered a 19% reduction.
“While water use increased in July [as compared with 2015], we are happy to see customers still conserving in light of warmer temperatures,” Nina Jazmadarian, FMWD general manager, said in a release.

— Mirjam Swanson

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