The results are in: Pasadena residents, business and institutions used significantly less water over the summer than in prior years, a strong indication that calls for conservation in the face of drought and state and regional water issues are being heeded.
According to Pasadena Water and Power General Manager Phyllis E. Currie, large and small water users in this community are changing their everyday habits and procedures, with excellent results.
"I want to thank the vast majority of Pasadenans who are following the city's water shortage procedures and those who have taken so many extra conservation measures," Currie said. "From the Rose Bowl Stadium, Huntington Hospital, Parsons, Caltech, PCC and the city's Public Works Department, all of which have made extraordinary investments in water efficiency and waste reduction, to residents who have cut back on lawn-watering days and planted water-wise gardens, Pasadenans are doing the right thing and we are seeing the results."
Net water usage in Pasadena from July 1 to Sept. 30 was 12 percent less than the same period last year, 19 percent less than in 2007, and less than any other year since 1994. Weather was about average this past summer, so much of the reduced water usage can be attributed to conservation.
If the trend continues throughout the year, PWP expects that the city will be able to meet the conservation target set by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which requires Pasadena to cut back usage by 10 percent over the course of fiscal year 2010 (July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010).
The summer numbers are encouraging, but we cannot lose momentum," Currie added. "We are still in a water shortage, and Pasadena must prove itself with a full year-long conservation track record to avoid MWD penalties."
Like many other cities in Southern California, Pasadena began projecting a water shortage two years ago when court-ordered restrictions on MWD imports to Southern California, along with regional drought conditions, threatened the city's water supply. While the Pasadena City Council worked with staff to strengthen municipal code in order to prohibit water waste, the community was educated about the issue through a constant stream of strategic customer outreach.
On July 13 the council declared an official Level 1 water shortage - the least severe of four levels - that triggered mandatory restrictions on the number of outdoor watering days allowed per week and requires sprinkler and plumbing leaks to be fixed within 72 hours. In early August a new conservation-based water rate structure took effect, aligned with the rising costs of the decreasing supply.
"In addition to the short-term goal of conserving 10 percent in the next year, our aim is strongly focused on long-term sustainability and lifelong habits that respect the persistent challenges of living in a semi-arid region," Currie said.
For more information visit www.cityofpasadena.net/savewater or call (626) 744-6970.