Despite a population growth of 1 million people, the residents and businesses of Los Angeles are together using the same amount of water now that was used in 1979, officials said Tuesday.
The city's Department of Water and Power credited "extraordinary conservation efforts" to city water users, and said the average residential customer has cut water use by 29.2 percent in the nine months since conservation rates and rules were imposed.
"Our customers' ability to reach 1970's water use levels at a time when our city's population has grown by more than a million people is truly remarkable," DWP Board President Lee Kanon Alpert said. "Angelenos understand the urgency for water conservation.
"Their actions show it, and we thank them for understanding the severity of the ongoing water crisis in our state."
Last summer, the city banned automatic water sprinkler use except on two days a week, and then only allows lawns to be automatically watered before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. It also required customers to fix leaks, and prohibited people from hosing down their driveways and sidewalks.
Higher rates have been imposed for those who consumer excessive amounts of water. The DWP also reduced the amount of water that customers can buy at the lowest rate.
During the nine months that these restrictions have been in place, Angelenos have cut their water use by nearly 30 billion gallons -- enough to serve 231,000 households for a year, according to the DWP.
As a result, the DWP is slated to purchase 16 percent less water from the Metropolitan Water District than it had planned to, during the current fiscal year.
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The conservation rules were imposed as a result of a three-year drought, the DWP said.
The amount of water used last February was the lowest recorded water use during any February in 32 years, according to the DWP, which serves about 680,000 water customer accounts in Los Angeles.
It also marked the 31st consecutive month of reduced water use by the DWP's single-family residential customers. During that period, they collectively slashed consumption by about 30 percent, the DWP said.
"In a time when water resources are scarce throughout the state, Los Angeles is taking the lead and setting an example on how to conserve water and maintain a sustainable water supply," said James McDaniel, DWP's senior assistant general manager for its water system.
"The more we can rely on our city's available water resources, the better prepared we are to get through this water crisis as a state," McDanieladded.
Angelenos whose lawns are turning brown because of the water restrictions can take advantage of the DWP's turf removal program, which rebates customers $1 per square foot of lawn removed and replaced by drought- tolerant plants or permeable hardscape. The rebate limit is $2,000.
Tips for conserving water are available online at www.ladwp.com, or by calling 1-800-DIAL DWP.