Watch CBS News

LADWP reports encouraging water conservation numbers that show 11% reduction of water use in July

LA County sees big reduction in water use in months of June and July
LA County sees big reduction in water use in months of June and July 01:38

As California continues to work through one of the worst droughts in state history, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has released encouraging data to show that water conservation methods are working.

The drought, now in its third year, is reportedly the worst drought in more than 1,200 years in California. The driest months of the ongoing drought thus far were from January to March this year, prompting a series of restrictions throughout the state.

In the month of July, officials projected an 11% reduction in water use compared the same month in both 2021 and 2020. It was also the lowest water use for any month since 1970. 

"We certainly are going in the right direction when it comes to water conservation," said Anselmo Collins, senior assistant general manager of the LADWP water system, who met with Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the newest data. 

"He always has an option to implement mandatory reduction," Collins said of the meeting with Newsom last week. "And he's holding off on that because he's seeing the great progress that all the agencies are making."

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to the LADWP, could only purchase 100,000 acre-feet of water from the California State Water Project this year -- 5% of the figure which is normally allocated. In typical years, the district gets close to 2 million acre-feet of water from the project. 

"Consequently, we are in a pretty significant, dire situation," Collins said.

City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell was pleased with the results, which he called a "smash success."

After two full months of restrictions in place — beginning on June 1 — usage numbers have dropped steadily, with a 9% reduction in June. Along with urging residents to be conscious of their habits when it comes to showering, washing dishes and other day-to-day activities around the house, they were also placed on outdoor watering schedules. 

The schedules restricted watering to two days a week, with watering permitted at odd-numbered street addresses on Mondays and Fridays, and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.

"I don't like trafficking in generalizations, but I'll say it again: Angelenos are conservationists by nature," O'Farrell said. "It's in our blood. So when we are given a task to conserve, then we collectively pitch in. So, really, job well done."

Additionally, LADWP began a new program last week, which allows customers that go through a training course to receive up to 300 gallons of recycled water for free. 

The program included the opening of a new pipeline at the reclamation plant in Atwater Village, where those customers can visit on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings, as long as they bring their own containers to fill up. 

Despite the early stages, the department already plans on expanding on the program. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.