L.A. water use plummets during hot summer amid calls to conserve during drought
By Molly McCauley
The Los Angeles County Department of Water and Power (LACDWP) announced Monday that water use is down 40 percent during the past three months, compared to three years ago, as residents and businesses increasingly turn to other water sources during dry weather.
Despite record hot temperatures in May and June, water use has decreased 40 percent from a year earlier, LACDWP officials said Tuesday. From May to June, when the city was hit with both record-hot temperatures and record-low precipitation levels, the average household water use per month decreased 37 percent compared to the same five-month period in 2017, when the temperature range was hotter and the precipitation levels were also lower than average.
“This is clearly a great benefit for L.A. County,” said county Public Works Commissioner Dave Schuman, adding that residents and businesses alike have been looking for a way to curb their water use since the high temperatures began in May. “We’re so appreciative of residents who have turned to other water sources like lawn irrigation and small sources like private wells. We are also appreciative that some residents with no water supply are looking to other systems to provide them with water.”
But as of this point in the drought, LACDWP officials said, water agencies across the area are still faced with a serious shortage of water.
“During this drought, L.A. County had the highest water consumption in the nation for the fourth consecutive year,” LACDWP Director Jeffrey Cabaniss wrote in a news release. “This is in part due to high water demand associated with the continued growth in Southern California, which is also a priority for our Board of Supervisors.”
The county water department has had to make tough decisions — like reducing water distribution rates to fund conservation and water infrastructure projects — but there is still plenty of water available.
“The county can’t use the water it has, but we still have enough to get us through until the reservoirs refill again,” Mr. Schuman said.