Though the southwestern U.S. had near-record rainfall this year, it turns out that the rain fell in the wrong places.
All of the watersheds relied upon by major metropolitan areas — Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix — experienced significantly lower than normal levels of rainfall and snow pack. The Colorado River is below its average, and northern California water supplies — Santa Monica’s primary source — are also lower than normal this year.
As a result, the region is under increasing pressure to practice water efficiency and conservation.
The City of Santa Monica’s goal is to cut water usage by 20 percent, to 10 million gallons a day, by the year 2010. Daily water use is now more than 13 million gallons per day.
In an effort to reduce usage, the City is offering residents and businesses several incentive programs, including rebates for water-efficient fixtures that range from $50 to $2,000. Competitive grant funding up to $20,000 for installation of California-friendly landscapes is also available.
The City is also suggesting the following water-saving measures: check for and fix leaks from faucets, showers, toilets and sprinkler systems; use professional car washes that recycle water; install new showerheads or faucets, dual flush or 1.6 gallon per flush toilets, water-efficient washing machines; plant California-friendly or native plants; adjust irrigation system timers each season; adjust irrigation timers to water in early morning, between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.; avoid runoff by adjusting sprinkler system; install a drip irrigation system for landscape.
Currently, an individual Santa Monica resident’s water use averages 144 gallons a day for showering, toilet flushing, laundry, irrigating gardens and car washing.Visit www.smepd.org or call (310) 458-8972 for information on water-efficiency rebates, grants and other water-saving ideas.