“We heard of some water changes in the LA Times some weeks ago, but nothing from DWP as of yet,” a reader wrote Circling the News on May 20. “Are there some new water rules?”
Starting June 1, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, announced that all watering is to be done in Los Angeles in the evening or early morning, with no outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Watering will be permitted at odd-numbered street addresses on Mondays and Fridays, and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays. Watering with sprinklers will be limited to eight minutes per station. Sprinklers with water-conserving nozzles will be limited to 15 minutes per station.
The new restrictions do not apply to tree watering. LA DWP is also offering rebates on water conservation items click here.
According to a local paper, outdoor water usage is estimated to account for approximately 50 percent of annual residential water consumption statewide and is higher in affluent communities like Pacific Palisades.
Do rich people use more water? Most likely – if they have larger properties – but one needs to look at the details and also the study.
According to the newspaper, “A 2014 UCLA residential water consumption study reported that the Palisades had the highest average of single-family residential water use when compared to 12 other L.A. neighborhoods.”
That source was a study that was part of a UCLA Grand Challenge 2013 project “Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles,” whose goal is exclusively renewable energy and local water by 2050 click here.
But, a 2016 study in WEHOville (“How Much Water Do Residents of Local City’s Use?”) “Compared to nearby cities, Beverly Hills has the highest residential water use: 135 gallons per person per day. Burbank’s residents use 111 gallons a day.
“Los Angeles (78 gallons) uses about 40% less per person than Beverly Hills. Santa Monica (77 gallons) and Culver City (75 gallons) consume a bit less than Los Angeles. Glendale’s residents use more, 89 gallons a day.”
The story notes that a problem with ranking water suppliers is some serve few residents (112) and others very many (4 million). This report calculated usage percentiles based on the number of people served. The average water use in California in 2016 was 106 gallons. Overall, Los Angeles is in the 34th percentile statewide.
But, Los Angeles residents have been using less water since 1990.
A May 2019 Public Policy Institute of California Total fact sheet reported. “Even before the latest drought, per capita water use had declined significantly—from 231 gallons per day in 1990 to 180 gallons per day in 2010—reflecting substantial efforts to reduce water use through pricing incentives and mandatory installation of water-saving technologies like low-flow toilets and shower heads, urban water use has been falling even as the population grows.” (click here.)
“In 2015, per capita use fell to 146 gallons per day in response to drought-related conservation requirements,” the report noted. “Much of the recent savings came from reducing landscape watering, which makes up roughly half of all urban water use.”
To determine the current drought, one also has to look at rainfall. According to the L.A. Almanac, which has kept total inches of rainfall in downtown since 1944-1945, the average for Los Angeles for 1944 to 2020 was 11.72 inches. Based on seasons 1991 through 2020, the 30-year average was 12.23 inches of rain.
Through April of this year, 10.30 inches of rain was recorded. Normal for this time of year is 11.87 inches of rain.
If Los Angeles City and County are conserving water and Southern California is about average for rainfall, where else can water usage be cut?
California pumps 43 million acre-feet of water each year to supplement its rainfall – 80 percent of that water is used in the Central Valley for crops.
A question for state politicians – Should crops that use large quantities of water, such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts be scaled back?
Another question for county and state politicians – Can you build infrastructure to capture rainwater before it runs into the ocean?
One reader suggested that the new homes that are built with pools should come under scrutiny and that owners, who have pools, should consider draining them.
“It’s hundreds of gallons of water for a rarely used pool – and at a great cost,” the reader said and suggested that people be educated about the environmental problem with pools – especially “where we in California have a huge water shortage that will not be temporary in nature.”
CTN does not agree about draining pools but does agree that drought/water issues are not temporary or a new problem in California. The State needs to look at its agricultural water usage and also into building new water retention systems.
(Editor’s note: My yard is mostly drought tolerant plants, there are grasscrete pavers to capture rainwater, I eschew artificial turf because it’s made with petroleum and increases the heat around a residence, and the faucets/bathroom fixtures in the home are water conservation approved. There is no pool or sauna on the property.)
So with all the new houses being built, why does almost every one have a big new lawn in front? Shouldn’t new home permits require water-saving landscaping? They also seem to accidentally kill their parkway trees and not replace them, but that’s another issue…
You mention a number of crops that require a lot of water but one you forgot is Cannabis — and the word is the many farms up near Sacramento – both licensed and unlicensed — have consumed so much water the Sacramento ground water basin is almost non existent. Maybe think about cutting back on that crop as well?