Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Meets Water Reduction Goals, Maintains Conservation Plan||
By Jorge Casuso
July 14, 2016 -- Santa Monica has dramatically reduced its water use and statewide drought conditions have eased, but the City is keeping in place its water conservation plan, the City's top sustainability official said this week.
Dean Kubani, the City's chief sustainability officer, advised the City Council Tuesday that Santa Monica should maintain its goal of reducing water use by 20 percent, a goal that has been met, and becoming water self-sufficient by 2020.
"With no end in sight to the drought, it is prudent to remain in a Stage 2 Water Supply Shortage until conditions significantly improve," Kubani wrote in a memo to the Council.
"This will help to prevent any potential for over-drafting groundwater and keep the City on course to meet it self-sufficiency goal."
The City Council declared a Stage 2 Water Shortage in August 2014 that required mandatory water allocations and a 20 percent reduction in water use ("," August 14, 2014).
The action was reaffirmed in January 2015, days before Governor Jerry Brown issued statewide Drought Emergency Regulations that required a 20 percent reduction in water use for Santa Monica ("Council Approves Santa Monica Water-Use Reductions," January 15, 2015).
With the drought's grip on the state easing, the State Water Resources Control Board in May updated the Drought Emergency Water Conservation regulations to allow water agencies "to define a customized water conservation standard based on their specific circumstances."
Santa Monica reported to the Board "that projected local and imported water supplies can meet demand for the three water years 2017 through 2019" required by the state under conditions similar to those experienced from 2012 through 2015, Kubani said.
The water year runs from October 1 through September 30.
But given Santa Monica's reliance on local groundwater aquifers for 80 percent of its supplies and with only 5 inches of rainfall last winter, compared to an average of 14 inches for the region, the City's "proactive" conservation plan remains in effect, Kubani said.
"Although reservoirs in northern California are near or at full capacity due to heavy rains and snow in that part of the state, the drought is not over," Kubani wrote in his information item.
"Forecasters are projecting a dry winter in 2016-2017 which could deepen the existing drought in the southern half of the state and further affect the
As part of the Stage 2 Water Supply Shortage, Santa Monica implemented water use allowances and penalties, as well as "expanded landscape rebates, turn-key toilet installations, home and business water consultations and a comprehensive outreach and marketing plan."
Between July 2015, when reporting began, and May 2016, Santa Monica residents and businesses reduced their water use by 20 percent, Kubani reported.
Of the City's water customers, 76 percent are now "within their water use allowance and are consistently near or at the number each month," Kubani reported.
By the end of May, staff had issued 330 penalties "to the highest water wasters and water usage among that group has been reduced as a result," he wrote.
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