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Press Release of the Day: Perfect Storm of Los Angeles

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Talk about thorough. This press release from the Mayor's office on Wednesday about water reduction goes on and on, but in a good way. It is concluded with tips, two of which that stuck out to us:

2. Use a Broom, Not a Hose to Clean Your Driveways and Sidewalks. The last time we spoke to a Street Use Inspector, this was illegal anyway. You are not allowed to put trash and debris into the gutter of a city street. Bundle it up and throw it away (trash or green waste bin).
10. Fix Your Sprinklers so You're Not Watering Your Sidewalks and Driveways. People should be ticketed for this. If you want to create a city where people walk and bike commute, it would be nice not to get your clothes wet.

Press release after the jump...

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Mayor calls on residence to reduce water use by 10% and launches three citywide conservation programs, Water Recycling Program, Washing Machine Rebate Program and the Smart Sprinkler Program

LOS ANGELES - Warning that a perfect storm is on Los Angeles horizon that could place Los Angeles in drought conditions, Mayor Villaraigosa today called on the residents of Los Angeles to reduce their water use by 10% and launched three citywide water conservation programs.

Joining Mayor Villaraigosa was City Councilmembers Tony Cardenas and Wendy Greuel; David Nahai, president, LADWP Board of Commissioners; Jeff Kightlinger, general manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Jonathan Parfrey the Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Los Angeles needs to change course and conserve water to steer clear of this perfect storm, Mayor Villaraigosa said. The combination of record-low rainfall, the second-lowest snowpack ever recorded and a potentially very hot summer is a perfect storm that could put Los Angeles into a drought.

Los Angeles is experiencing an all-time, record-low rainfall season and the Eastern Sierra Mountains, where Los Angeles typically receives about half of its water from snowmelt, is marking the second-lowest snowpack ever recorded. The combination of record low rainfall, no snowmelt and a potentially very hot summer could place Los Angeles into a drought.

The Mayor cited numerous ways to save water, such as inspecting your plumbing for leaks and taking shorter showers. For every leak you stop, you save 20 gallons of water a day. If you shorten your shower by even one or two minutes every day you can reduce your use by hundreds of gallons a month, Mayor Villaraigosa said.

LADWP Board President H. David Nahai congratulated Los Angeles residents who already make a tremendous effort to save water. The fact is that Angelenos are using the same amount of water today as we did 25 years ago, despite a population increase of 1 million people. But we cannot be complacent, Nahai said. We must continue to use water wisely and within our means of water availability. That means rather than seek out new sources of water, our goal is to meet future demand through conservation and other water saving measures. Nahai added.

A number of factors have converged to create particularly dry conditions. The water supply forecast for April through September 2007 indicates that the Eastern Sierra/L.A. Aqueduct watershed, where Los Angeles gets about half of its water during an average year, will be 48 percent of normal. The year-long projection (April through March) is a little better-59 percent of normal. In addition, the City experienced record low rainfall this season and may be in for another hot summer. The Citys water use averages about 670,000 acre-feet per year, and generally parallels the temperature.

Despite the dry season, LADWP and Metropolitan officials said there is ample water available to meet customer demands this year because last years snowpack exceeded a normal year by 145 percent. The region will also benefit from additional water reserves since Metropolitan built a major storage facility at Diamond Valley Lake.

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One reason water use in the City has remained level while population increased is due to the success of LADWPs water-saving toilet replacement program, through which the agency has provided and installed more than 1.3 million low-flush toilets over the past 16 years.

The program has done what it was designed to do. We have reached a high degree of saturation and determined it is time to redirect those investment dollars, LADWP General Manager Ronald F. Deaton said. Going forward we are refocusing conservation programs to target outdoor water use - where we believe that we can achieve new water savings. About 40 percent of the Citys water consumption is from outdoor uses, primarily landscaping.

LADWP already offers incentives of $1,000 (per acre controlled) for using weather-based (smart) irrigation controllers in large landscape settings, and is planning to roll out a smart irrigation controller program for residential customers later this year.

LADWP, working with L.A. City Department of Recreation and Parks and Metropolitan, will ramp up programs to install smart sprinkler controllers in City parks. LADWP will provide and install the smart controllers in 15 City parks through Prop. 50 grant of $362,000, beginning in July. LADWP and Recreation & Parks have already installed the smart controllers in 17 City parks through a pilot project. Another 40 City parks are targeted to receive smart controllers through an additional Prop. 50 grant.

In addition, the LADWP Board of Commissioners recently approved $1 million for this fiscal year and up to $3 million annually for extensive water efficiency measures at three City parks per year. These include the installation of smart controllers and high efficiency sprinkler heads, and repair or replacement of irrigation systems.

To encourage Los Angeles residents to save water, LADWP has increased the rebate to $250 for qualifying, high-efficiency clothes washers. Beginning with purchases made on or after April 1, 2007, the new rebate applies to eligible high-efficiency washers that can save up to 50 percent of the water required per load for conventional washing machines.

Washing machines have become the thirstiest water using appliance in your house today, LADWP Water Conservation Manager Tom Gackstetter said. A high-efficiency clothes washer will save you up to 30 gallons of water per load; use less energy for water heating and clothes drying; save you up to $100 per year in water, sewer and energy costs; plus they qualify for a $250 rebate, Gackstetter said.

Earlier this year, LADWP raised the incentive levels for a variety of water-saving devices designed for commercial customers. These include high-efficiency commercial clothes washers, commercial and multifamily ultra-low-flush and high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency urinals, and cooling tower conductivity controllers.

Officials said water recycling is an important component of saving future water supplies. LADWP has expanded water recycling for irrigation in the Sepulveda Basin, and began watering the entrance to Woodley Golf Course with recycled water in April. In July LADWP will use recycled water to irrigate all of Woodley Golf Course-saving 440 acre-feet, enough water for 880 households. Ultimately the program will save enough water for up to 4,000 households once all the golf courses and parks in the Sepulveda Basin are irrigated with recycled water.

The following are 10 simple ways to conserve water:

1.Take Shorter Showers
2.Use a Broom, Not a Hose to Clean Your Driveways and Sidewalks.
3.Fix Leaky Faucets and Pipes.
4.Run Only Full Loads in the Washing Machine and Dishwasher.
5.Replace Your Old Washing Machine with a New, High-efficiency Model.
6.Don't use Your Toilet as a Wastebasket.
7.Water Your Lawn a Little Less
8.Install a Smart Sprinkler Controller To Help With Watering Your Entire Landscape
9.Replace a Portion of Your Lawn with Native, LA Friendly Plants
10.Fix Your Sprinklers so You're Not Watering Your Sidewalks and Driveways

To learn more about water conservation programs offered by LADWP and Metropolitan, and tips for indoor and outdoor water savings, please visit Customers may also call 1-800-DIAL DWP or email ccenter(@) for more information about water conservation.

Photo by Orin Optiglot via Flickr.

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