Southern California Leads the Way in Water Conservation
By: Rich Atwater, Executive Director
Southern California Water Committee
Turning off the water when brushing your teeth is a no-brainer. Southern California looks beyond day-to-day common sense conservation and has implemented investments that will help the region enhance conservation, make efficient use of local supplies and create long-term solutions to water supply shortages. Southern California has invested more than $12 billion in conservation and local water supply projects since 1995, and there’s much more to be done.
From investing more than $2.5 billion in water recycling to another $2.5 billion in groundwater clean-up, Southern California water agencies, cities and counties are proven leaders in conservation.
SCWC issued a new infographic today outlining some of the conservation and local supply highlights…here’s a quick snapshot:
•While So Cal’s population increased by 3 million people, water use has stayed flat;
•So Cal residents conserved 900,000 acre feet of water over two decades—enough to serve 1.8 million families for one year;
•California recycles more water than other state in the nation, and 75 percent of recycled water is produced in Southern California; and
•Los Angeles residents use 129 gallons per day, compared to statewide average use of 196 gallons per day.
Smart irrigation, high efficiency appliances, rebates, water wise landscaping, rain barrels, drip irrigation and turf removal are just some of the ways Southern Californians are making the most out of water supplies.
But, there’s always more to be done. SCWC supports Governor Brown’s drought emergency declaration and call for increased conservation. Our water agencies and local governments are identifying cutting edge ways to advance local water supplies to help sustain water supplies for a growing population.
Despite all of these investments, it is vital that we also protect our historic water supplies that come from the Sierra Nevada Mountains via the State Water Project, water that is crucial to the economy and livelihood of Southern California. The water that comes from the Sierras is a core foundation (currently about 30 percent) of our region’s overall water supply portfolio.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the path forward for securing those supplies. And while some say local supplies are the only way to go, the fact is that we need to invest in both local and imported supplies in order to meet the needs of a growing population. This is not an either-or situation. So let’s buckle down and conserve, invest in local supplies, and invest in water supplies from outside the region as well. To view SCWC’s new infographic on the region’s water conservation successes, click here.