Angelenos Heed Water Warnings

LOS ANGELES -- With drought conditions persisting in the Southland and around the state, Angelenos have been heeding appeals to conserve water, officials announced Monday.

Water use by homeowners in the city reached a six-year low in October, which also was the 15th consecutive month that single-family households reduced their water usage, the mayor's office announced Monday.

Residents in single-family homes used 7 percent less water in October compared to October 2007.Overall water use in the city is down 5.1 percent this year.

The Department of Water and Power's government customers have cut water use by 11.4 percent this year. Residents in multi-family buildings have cut water by 4.3 percent and the commercial sector has reduced water by 5.4 percent.

"Water conservation is here to stay, whether the rains come or not," said DWP General Manager David Nahai. "There are no more rivers to tap or aqueducts to build from hundreds of miles away. The way we're going to meet our needs in the future is through conservation and recycling. We will never let up in our efforts to communicate this important fact to our customers."

A revised city ordinance that limits how and when Angelenos can use water outdoors and imposes water restrictions on restaurants and hotels went into effect in September. Since then, the DWP has investigated 1,388 complaints and written 558 citations for watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., watering driveways and sidewalks, and allowing excess water to flow into the street.

"Water conservation is the cornerstone to our sustainable future. I am proud of the efforts Angelenos have made, but we can and must do more," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The reduction in water usage comes amid a statewide drought. In June, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger directed the state Department of Water Resources to facilitate water transfers to areas with emergency shortages.

Adding to the local water woes is a federal court ruling aimed at protecting the delta smelt. That ruling significantly reduced the amount of water that Southern California gets from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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