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Drought Might Make Catalina Ship Their Dirty Laundry To The Mainland

Photo by Derek Cross Photography via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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It'll be tough to find a city in Los Angeles County hit harder by the drought than Avalon, where laundry is being shipped out of town and meals are being served on paper plates.Of course the irony is that Avalon is literally surrounded by water, as it is only city on Catalina Island. Residents of Catalina are now under Stage 2 mandatory water rationing, where Southern California Edison forces residents to cut back water usage by 25% (island residents have actually done better, cutting back by 30%). Unfortunately for them, Stage 3 is set to go into effect this fall, which imposes cuts of 50%.

"If we go to Stage 3, things will get ugly," said Avalon City Councilman Joe Sampson at a recent meeting. "People are in an uproar."

With some businesses on the island already taking drastic steps, moving into Stage 3 restrictions would practically force hotels to close laundry rooms and have laundry be done on the mainland, restaurants to serve food on disposable dining ware, and put a halt on construction projects according to the the L.A. Times. Unfortunately, many of these water-guzzling activities are intrinsically tied in to the tourism industry, which is the island's main source of revenue.

About one million people visit the island a year, according to the New York Times, but none of the landlubbers are subject to the mandatory cuts imposed by Edison. Hotels encourage their guests to take short showers and restaurants offer bottled water for 50 cents, but Catalina residents can't help but give the tourists some serious side-eye. "When they come back from the beach with their kids, they'll just hose them off outside for however long," Susanna Savitt told the New York Times. "It's kind of annoying." A newly opened spa even touts its "private showers for two in each treatment room." It probably also doesn't tell each twosome to take 3-minute showers, like many island residents do to save water.

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Catalina gets 80% of its water from a desalination plant, with the remainder from groundwater. Although desalination seems to be the obvious answer since seawater is not scarce, it is expensive. Some construction projects on the island, which need water for mixing cement, buy their water from the LADWP and gets it shipped from the mainland.

[h/t: Curbed LA]

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