Long Beach Water Conservation Sets Another Record

The Long Beach (Calif.) Board of Water Commissioners reported on Oct. 8 that less water was consumed in Long Beach this past fiscal year than any other year over the past decade.

In fact, Long Beach consumed less water than the city did during the height of the 1987-1992 drought, with mandatory rationing and a population 15 percent smaller than today. September 2008 also set a new record 10-year low, marking the city's ninth record-setting month for low water use since the board's declaration of an imminent water supply shortage in September 2007.

Some of those record-setting numbers include:

•Water demand for FY 2008 was 9.2 percent below the 10-year average.

•Water demand for FY 2008 was 9.4 percent below water demand for Fiscal Year 2007, and 8.5 percent below water demand for FY 2006.

•September 2008 demand is 11.1 percent below the 10-year average for September, and a new 10-year record low.

•Long Beach used 6,368 acre-feet less water in FY 2008 than the city used in FY 2007, and 4,540 acre-feet less than the city used in FY 2006.

"This is an entire community coming together and engaging itself in worthy endeavor," said John Allen, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. "We simply must change our lifestyle so that inefficient and wasteful uses of water, particularly outdoor uses, are no longer tolerated by anyone," he said.

According to Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department, Long Beach took the action it did more than a year ago now not because of a "drought," but because "we recognized then the need to permanently reduce our water consumption specifically due to the permanent reductions in water supply imports to southern California. We no longer have enough water to meet demand here in southern California, even in normal hydrologic years. Every city in southern California needs to implement mandatory prohibitions on certain outdoor uses of water, and make those prohibitions permanent."

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