How much water have we saved?
Today, the State Water Resources Control Board expressed the concern that “some water suppliers are abandoning their focus on conservation as California heads into a possible sixth drought year.” Statewide water conservation fell to 18% in August, significantly below the 27% in August 2015. It made us wonder: How much water have we saved in this area?
Water conservation goals
The State imposed conservation goals on water suppliers last year. The goals ranged from 4% to 36%. West Hollywood doesn’t have its own water department. It’s served instead by the City of Los Angeles and the City of Beverly Hills. Their conservation goals were 14% (revised down from 16%) and 32%, respectively.
Those mandatory goals were recently replaced by a looser system based on a “stress test.” The stress test essentially asked the question, “Will you have enough water to meet demand if the next three years are dry?” Of the 400+ suppliers, five out of six answered yes, including the suppliers in this area. The State released them from mandatory goals.
Water conservation in the last year
So how much water did we actually save in the last year? The chart below shows the percentages for West Hollywood’s two water suppliers — Los Angeles and Beverly Hills — and other nearby cities.
Burbank topped the local list at 26%. Beverly Hills and Santa Monica both saved 20%. Culver City saved 17% and Los Angeles 16%.
Many water suppliers in the state achieved higher savings than the suppliers in this area. That may be because they had to. The State imposed bigger cuts on suppliers whose customers were using larger amounts of water per person.
Los Angeles, Culver City, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica were in the bottom quarter of suppliers based on percentage savings. Burbank’s conservation was a bit above median (50th percentile).
Water conservation compared to goals
Burbank and Glendale both saved significantly more water in the last year than required by the State. Los Angeles and Culver City also exceeded their goals. Santa Monica met theirs. Beverly Hills, on the other hand, fell 12 percentage points short. They saved 20% but were expected to save 32%.
Most of the water suppliers in this area were in the middle of the pack statewide when their savings are compared to their goals. The exception is Beverly Hills, which had one of the higher goals and one of the bigger shortfalls versus the goal.
Water conservation in recent months
The cities in the area conserved 16% to 26% in the year ending May 2016. But the savings have since dropped by one to three percentage points in each city, based on the State’s latest compliance data. For example, Culver City’s 17% savings declined to 14% for June through August. Beverly Hills was the exception: conservation was steady at 20%.
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