Water Conservation in West Basin Service Area Lowers Water Use 13%

West Basin’s water use was down 13 percent this past year, but more conservation is needed to meet California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's goal of a 20 percent reduction in water use by 2020.

Water supply allocations from the State Water Project are still only 40 percent of normal, even with the Sierra snowpack over 100 percent of normal, according to a West Basin press release. Major water storage reservoirs remain low.

“We’re still experiencing serious water supply challenges that will have an effect on southern California for the long-term,” said West Basin Board President Gloria D. Gray. “West Basin is taking a comprehensive approach to resolving some of these complicated issues by investing in conservation and diverse water supplies and focusing on local control of our water.”

West Basin wholesales water to its 185-square mile service area that is comprised of 66 percent imported water, 20 percent groundwater, 7 percent recycled water, and 7 percent conserved water. It depends on water imported from northern California and the Colorado River, both faced with shortages caused by climate change, ongoing drought, and regulatory restrictions.

Long-term, West Basin’s Water Reliability 2020 program will reduce its dependence on imported water from 66 percent to 33 percent by the year 2020 by doubling its conservation efforts, doubling recycled water use, and adding desalted ocean-water to its water supply portfolio.

Residents and businesses can cut back by shutting off the faucet while shaving or brushing teeth, washing only full loads of dishes and laundry, or taking a 5-minute shower or less while using a low-flow showerhead. More water can be saved by watering less outdoors, reducing the size of the lawn or planting native, drought-tolerant species.

Replacing water-wasting devices with water-efficiency devices can make a difference in water use and the water bill. High-efficiency toilets, sprinkler controllers and ocean-friendly landscape workshops are available to residents, while businesses can participate in “Cash 4 Kitchens” for commercial kitchens larger than 1,000 square feet. Cities can qualify for matching grants to make street medians drought tolerant while reducing runoff into streets, storm drains and the ocean.

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