LB sets another record low for water usage

The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners announced this week that the City of Long Beach has set another 10-year record low for water consumption during the month of April. Citywide water demand during the month of April was 17.2 percent below the city’s historical 10-year average. For the past 12-month period, water demand in Long Beach is tracking at nearly 17 percent below the historical average.
“After two and a half years of sustaining high levels of conservation, our customers continue to impress us with their efforts to permanently reduce their water use,” said Paul Blanco, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. “They have come to realize, as should all of Southern California, that it is no longer prudent to safely rely on our water supplies from the Colorado River and Northern California.”
Last week the California Department of Finance released its updated population figures for the City of Long Beach, which saw its population increase by roughly 4,000 people. With this bigger population base, yet decreased water demand, the Long Beach Water Department estimates the city’s per-capita water use has dropped to approximately 102 gallons per day.
“Based on these new population and water consumption figures, Long Beach is now two gallons away from reaching per-capita water use of 100 gallons per day,” said Kevin Wattier, general manager for the Long Beach Water Department. “If our customers can reduce their water consumption by another two percent, we will be there, and that would be an incredible feat considering how much additional water our city was using less than five years ago.”
Since the Long Beach Water Department’s 100th anniversary is next year, Wattier said it would be great to see the City’s per-capita water use come down to 100 gallons by the end of next year.
“We’re unofficially calling it our 100 by 100 initiative,” Wattier said.
This week, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) updated the State Water Project allocation projection, increasing it to 40 percent. A final allocation is expected at the end of May. If the allocation is increased to 50 percent at the end of the month, Southern California would still receive 20 percent less water than average in a year that has been well above average in terms of statewide precipitation.
“Although the snow pack has reached its highest May 1 levels since 2006 and allows us to raise our projected deliveries to communities, farms and businesses, we must not be lulled into a false sense of complacency” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “The harsh reality is that we continue to have a severe problem with water in California. A 40-percent allocation will still leave many communities with water shortages this year. Recovering from three consecutive years of drought, and restrictions on Delta pumping means we must continue to conserve water and work as hard as ever toward a comprehensive solution to our water crisis.”

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