Long Beach Hits another Usage Low

The Long Beach (Calif.) Board of Water Commissioners announced that water demand for October 2008 has set a new record 10-year low, according to a Nov. 12 press release.

Long Beach water use was 9.5 percent below the historical 10-year average ('98-'07) water use and 9 percent below October '07 levels.

The Long Beach Water Department is in its second year of extraordinary, mandatory water conservation due to an imminent water supply shortage in southern California.

"Waste not, want not," says John Allen, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. "Again, every gallon we don't use is a gallon we leave in storage. This is an idea that should have been embraced months ago by every community in southern California. We have been using our storage to water our landscapes, and that storage is at historic low levels as we head into what may very well be another dry year."

The collective storage level of Lake Shasta, Lake Oroville, and San Luis Reservoir, the feeders to the State Water Project, are the lowest they've been since 1977. This is a primary reason for the State Department of Water Resources' recent announcement that water deliveries from northern California to the Central Valley, and on to southern California, may be 85 percent below what is being requested for these regions next year.

"We have got to move quickly as a region to take a firm stand on this," adds Kevin L. Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department. "Even if we have average rainfall this year, the reality is that 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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