Santa Monica Lookout
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Santa Monicans Beat Water Conservation Goal

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

August 28, 2015 -- Residential water use in Santa Monica edged up slightly last month from June, but consumers still saved enough to avoid putting the City in hot water with state's regulators.

Individually, each of the City's 93,283 residential customers on average used 102 gallons of water per person each day in July, about two gallons more per person per day than June's total of 100 gallons, figures released Thursday by the state Water Resources Control Board showed.

“This was also a little bit better than our June numbers -- a 22 percent reduction -- so we are definitely on the right track,” said Dean Kubani, manager of Santa Monica's Office of Sustainability and the Environment. “We just need to keep it up now.”

That's been the overall message for the past two months from state Water Board officials, who have been warning residential water suppliers that repeatedly failing to meet reduction targets could result in fines in the thousands of dollars.

Thursday's overall numbers, however, showed residents across the state continue heeding the conservation call.

Collectively, California residents reduced the water use by 31.3 percent during July, exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown’s 25 percent mandate for a second consecutive month since the new emergency conservation regulation took effect, said Water Board spokesman George Kostyrko.

Only four of the 400 or so water sellers regulated by the board failed to meet their conservation standards by more than 15 percent. Those agencies could be in line for penalties, officials have said.

“Saving water in the hot summer months is critical to meeting the state’s overall 25 percent savings goal through February 2016, as the summer is when the greatest amount of water is traditionally used, particularly on outdoor ornamental landscapes,” Kostyrko said.

In his April 1 executive order, Brown called on residents to save 1.2 million acre feet of water by February. July’s water savings moved the state 228,940 acre feet -- or 74.6 billion gallons -- closer to the goal, he said.

“Californians' response to the severity of the drought this summer is now in high gear and shows that they get that we are in the drought of our lives,” said Water Board chairperson Felicia Marcus.

“Millions of conscientious Californians are the real heroes here – each stepping up to help local water resources last longer in the face of an historic drought with no certain end date.”

Even while conserving water, residents across the state are readying for possible torrential rains from what forecasters have called a “Godzilla” El Nino this winter. Media reports said residents were keeping roofing companies busy, while many cities are clearing storm drains and taking other precautions in the event of severe winter storms.

But Water Board officials have emphasized the difficulty of predicting how a strong El Nino will actually play out this winter. Some strong El Ninos in years past have yielded little changes in the state's weather patterns, officials have said.

Last month, Marcus said people should keep conserving and not count on El Nino to bail the state out of “the drought of the century.”

In Santa Monica, residents so far have consistently met and bested the City's “conservation standard” of 20 percent, surpassing the goal again in July by more than 3 percent, state figures showed.

Compared to last July 2013, Santa Monicans “used about 25 percent less water than the same month in 2013,” Kubani said

“Our message to residents and businesses is that we are collectively doing a great job but the drought is a long way from over so we can’t slack off – keep saving!” he said.

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