Customers in the Foothill Municipal Water District service area proved themselves to be water wise over the past year, registering their lowest water usage in 38 years.
That’s according to a report from the district’s 2015-16 Fiscal Year Management Report, which calculated that water use was about 144 gallons per capita daily. That’s 15% less than the previous year, about 32% less than in 2007 and the lowest since 1978.
“It shows how well the community responded to the drought and the call for conservation,” FMWD General Manager Nina Jazmadarian said.
The past year also represents the third-lowest year of imported water sales for the district, which serves the Foothill communities of La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Altadena, Jazmadarian said. The district can purchase water to supplement its needs.
“Our imported water was back to 1950s levels,” she said. “The more reliant we are locally on supplies and able to reduce, the more sustainable we are. It’s good.”
To supplement the local supply, FMWD purchases imported water from the Metropolitan Water District, which gets it from either the Colorado River Aqueduct (which it owns) or from one of the state contractors with a stake in the California State Water Project.
About 50% of the water used this year by FMWD customers was imported, according to Daniel Drugan, a water program technician at FMWD.
In LCF, 70% of the water provided by Valley Water Company was imported in the past year, Drugan said. He said La Cañada Irrigation imported 92.5% of its water and, as usual, Mesa Crest Water District, which doesn’t have rights to its own water, imported all of its water.
FMWD said its retail agencies all achieved significant cuts in water demand and collectively saved almost 750 million gallons of potable water when compared to the previous year.
In April 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown responded to ongoing drought conditions by ordering cities and towns across the state to cut water use by 25% as part of an historic set of mandatory drought restrictions. He lifted that mandate this past spring, but Jazmadarian said she thinks water conservation has become part of the region’s culture. She hopes the trend continues.
“I see a lot more drought-tolerant plants, and you hear people talking much more about water conservation when you’re out and about,” Jazmadarian said. “I think it’s become part of the overall mindset.”
FMWD’s Board of Directors adopted the report on Dec. 19. The document also highlighted initiatives that included rehabilitation of a portion of a water transmission main in Altadena after a pipeline inspection revealed areas of weakness, as well as maintenance of pumps and motors at pump stations.