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Water Usage Down in L.A. Amidst Drought & New Rules

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Photo by Jellaluna via Flickr

Photo by Jellaluna via Flickr
Water use by Los Angeles residents and businesses were down by 11% in June when compared to June 2008 making it the lowest demand in 32 years, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced today. June 1st of this year marked the beginning of a new water conservation law aimed mainly at sprinkler usage, limiting it to certain hours on Mondays and Thursdays, and a new "shortage year" rate structure.

Comparing June 2009 to June 2008 breakdowns, single family homes reduced water consumption by 16.8% while mullti-family buildings by 8.3%. Commercial businesses reduced water use by 12.7% while Industrial was at 3.4% less. Government customers reduced the most, though, with 29.5%.

"We are very encouraged by the citywide response to mandatory water conservation. These results clearly indicate that our customers are more carefully using water during this time of natural and regulatory drought. For this, we are grateful, " said LADWP's CEO David Nahai in a statement. "Having said this, mandatory water conservation has only recently begun and now, with temperatures rising, we must continue efforts to reduce our water use. We still have a way to go."

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In 2007, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on Angelenos to reduce water consumption by 10%. Since then total use had declined by 14.4%. An explanation of water conservation laws mentioned above are as follows:

Mandatory water conservation restricts sprinkler watering to Mondays and Thursdays only and includes other provisions to save water such as prohibiting watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, prohibiting hosing down driveways and sidewalks and water runoff, requiring all leaks be fixed and only using hoses fitted with shut-off nozzles, among other measures.

New Water Rates
Shortage year water rates are a modified water pricing schedule wherein the water allocation for which customers pay the lowest lowest rate (Tier 1) is reduced by 15 percent, and the rate for any water used over the Tier 1 allocation is raised. Shortage year rates are designed to send a strong price signal to customers to conserve water or pay a higher price for excessive water use (Tier 2). Customers who conserve and stay within their reduced allocations will not be impacted financially, whereas those who exceed their allocations will see their bills rise. Customers already conserving 15 percent or more will not be affected.

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