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LADWP On State-Ordered Water Cutbacks: We've Already Been Doing That For Years

LOS ANGELES ( — Cities across California are preparing themselves for tough new state-ordered cutbacks.

And CBS2/KCAL9 has learned the new rules will hit some cities much harder than others.

Gov. Jerry Brown called on cities this week to cut water consumption by 25 percent to combat the severe drought plaguing the state.

The L.A. Department of Water and Power says this kind of water conservation has already been implemented in the area for years.

"As long as we continue to have the kind of response we're having now, we do believe we'll meet what the governor's goals are," according to LADWP Senior General Manager Martin Adams.

In fact, a recent survey of daily water use per person in cities across California indicates that L.A. is doing better in lowering daily usage rates than residents in many other cities. The average Angeleno uses 117 gallons a day. In Beverly Hills, that number jumps to 281 gallons a day per person and 228 gallons per person in Newport Beach. Your typical Palm Springs resident uses 237 gallons, as the weather is much hotter and drier.

LADWP officials say they'll be urging state officials to lower the cutback requirement in L.A., because they say residents have already sharply reduced their water usage.

They say one program has been particularly effective. Residents are given rebates to replace water-hungry green lawns with drought-tolerant lawns that take only a small fraction of the water grass needs.

The fly in the ointment for L.A., however, could be a decision later this month by the Metropolitan Water District to cut the water allotment for the city. With local water sources drying up, the LADWP now buys about 80 percent of its water from the MWD. That water is shipped primarily from the State Aqueduct in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta in Northern California, and a smaller amount from the Colorado River.

Now the allotment for L.A. is expected to be reduced, officials are wondering by how much. If the cuts are in the 20 percent range, that would mean less water coming in and perhaps at a much higher price, especially if L.A. goes over its allotted amount and needs to pay a penalty.

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