City Councilmembers Push City to Conserve Water & Battle Drought

LOS ANGELES – City Councilmembers Felipe Fuentes and Mike Bonin today introduced initiatives to combat drought and steer residents and DWP into rethinking their use of water.

The councilmembers called on LADWP to: explore expanding its tiered-pricing system for water; help residents establish reasonable “water budgets” for their households; better measure outdoor water use; and further promote sustainable and drought-tolerant landscaping. They also called for LADWP and the City to stop watering turf lawns at City properties while they wait to be replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping.

“Angelenos are eager to do more to conserve water, and are determined to see the city and its utility do more and lead the way,” Bonin said. “Our neighbors want to be leaders in water conservation, and they want the information and the tools to do it.”

“During this time of dry weather, it’s critical that every Angeleno pitches in to be a part of the solution to the water emergency in the State. It should be a priority for all of us,” said Fuentes. “We’ve made great progress over the years in Los Angeles, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Water_Conservation_Tile.jpgThe Fuentes-Bonin motions follow a recent report from UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities. The report, “Residential Water Consumption in Los Angeles: What are the drivers and are conservation measures working?,” analyzed ten years of data tracking water consumption by people living in single-family residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and offered policy recommendations to help Angelenos conserve water.

“The UCLA report provides us with an opportunity to think critically about how we use water in Los Angeles,” Fuentes said. “Although Los Angeles is one of the most water efficient large cities in the country, during this drought we must explore all options to encourage conservation and reduce water use.”

Among the report’s key findings was the revelation that, based on the efficacy of past programs, a combination of mandatory restrictions and increasing the price for excessive water use is the most effective policy mechanism that can be used to encourage conservation. The report recommended a series of conservation-focused policies, such as expanding the tiered water pricing system, using “water budgets” to set reasonable limits on water use by households, using separate indoor and outdoor water meters to help customers understand how much of their water use comes from irrigation, and finally, increasing landscaping options available to customers. While the DWP has already begun exploring and implementing some of the report’s recommendations, Bonin and Fuentes’ motion asks the Department to report on each recommendation so the public can engage in a conversation about conservation.

In a separate motion, Bonin and Fuentes also called for City to shut off sprinklers that water city lawns not used for recreation, and move faster to replace those lawns with drought-tolerant landscape options.

“Even if we were not in the middle of a drought, it makes no sense to have a large, lush lawn at a DWP substation,” Bonin said. “Let’s make our substations and other City properties showcases for sustainability.”

Both of Bonin and Fuentes’ motions were seconded by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

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