Los Angeles residents have continued to reduce water usage at a steady pace to offset a historic drought, and those efforts appear to be working, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials said at a City Council committee meeting Thursday.
Officials projected an 11% reduction in water use for the month of July compared to the previous two Julys. That topped a 9% reduction in the month of June, the lowest water use for any June in Los Angeles since 1970.
The report updating water supply conditions and drought response actions was presented to the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River Committee on Thursday.
“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.
The restrictions went into effect June 1. They included restricting outdoor watering to two days per week, down from three, with watering permitted at odd-numbered street addresses on Mondays and Fridays, and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.
Drought conditions, though, are less auspicious.
This is the third straight year that Los Angeles has been in a drought, with this January through March marking the driest three months on record.
Key water sources such as Lake Mead and Lake Powell are only at a quarter of normal capacity. Lake Oroville and the San Luis Reservoir in Northern California are at 41% and 32% of normal capacity, respectively.
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.
Collins said he met last week with Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was encouraged by the water-saving numbers in Los Angeles.
“He always has an option to implement mandatory reduction,” Collins said of Newsom. “And he’s holding off on that because he’s seeing the great progress that all the agencies are making.”
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, the chair of the committee, called Los Angeles’ new water restrictions a “smash success.”
“I don’t like trafficking in generalizations, but I’ll say it again: Angenelos 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.”