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News

Thanks To Conservation Efforts, SoCal Definitely Has Enough Water For Next 3 Years

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Watering entering the Los Angeles Aqueduct (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced Wednesday they will definitely have enough water to meet demands for the next three years, thanks to local conservation efforts. Nice work, everyone! We reached out to some of L.A.'s most notorious celebrity water wasters to see if any of them were to thank, but first, a little more on what this news actually means.The Metropolitan Water District is basically where the people who give us our water (likely DWP, for most of you) get their water from. The public agency acts as a regional wholesaler, providing water to 26 other public agencies, including 14 cities, 11 municipal water districts and one county water authority, who then in turn fill the taps for 19 million people.

So what is this about the next three years? As some of you may remember, when the State Water Resources Control Board ended its mandatory conservation program last month, they also asked local agencies across the state to assess their own supplies for a future three-year period. As Brandon Goshi, manager of water policy and strategy for MWD, told LAist, the so-called "stress test" looked at just that, assessing if MWD would have sufficient water supplies to meet the demands of their members if the drought were to extend for another three years. And—great news!—we passed!

In even rosier news, that analysis looks at worst-case extended drought conditions (i.e. MWD isn't saying we only have enough water for the next three years; just that we definitely have enough water for said time period). As MWD representative Rebecca Kimitch explained to us, "We have water reliability for many, many years... This was just to look at a particular three year period, assuming continued drought conditions."

"It's just a small capture of a much larger water reliability plan that Metropolitan is consistently evaluating," she continued. Sounds good! Now onto the really important questions—how exactly did this conservation happen?

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We know our lovely readers have obviously been turning off their faucets while brushing their teeth, browning their lawns and showering with their neighbors, but what about the celebrity water wasters? Is it possible that they are the ones we should be thanking for these positive developments?

We tried to get in touch with notorious developer Geoff Palmer, who had been fined by the City of Beverly Hills (yes, Beverly Hills is an MWD customer) for using more than 12,000 gallons of water a day over a two-month period last year, which he also blamed on "a leaky pipe." For context, 12,000 gallons of water is about two-thirds of what it takes to fill the average swimming pool.

So, has that pipe been fixed? Should we now turn our gratitude to Geoff Palmer, despite the ugly havoc his faux-Italian fortresses have wreaked across downtown Los Angeles? The nice lady who answered the phone at his office told us she would have to check in with the property manager at the house and call me back. We have yet to hear back, but will keep you updated.

Director Brett Ratner had also blamed the excessive water use at his Beverly Hills home on leaky pipes. Had those leaks been fixed? A representative for Ratner told LAist that yes, "all of Brett's previous leaks have been fixed!" Mazel tov and thank you, Brett Ratner! Rush Hour 3 may not have been anything to write home about, but I still knew we could count on you when push came to shove.

We also left word for Amy Poehler, who remains our personal favorite of the Beverly Hills water wasters, and are still waiting to hear whether she is now a part of the solution.

We turned back to our friends at the Metropolitan Water District to see if they had any intel on whether possible water conservation efforts by the boldfaced names among L.A.'s profligate water users could have had an effect on our positive three-year report. Did they have any thoughts? After a very long silence, Goshi did address the question, telling us it was far too specific "for an agency like Metropolitan to answer."

"When we are talking about conservation," he continued, "we're talking about conservation that we have been able to accomplish as a whole across Southern California." Finally, someone who thinks there is more to Southern California than just celebrities!