October 31, 2008

First Rainfall, End of Daylight Savings Time Offers Consumers Water-Saving Opportunities

As most Southlanders welcomed the season's first rainfall and prepared for the annual ritual of turning back their clocks with the end of daylight savings this weekend, officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California pressed consumers to roll back their outdoor watering practices, as well.

"Transitioning into fall weather means making adjustments. And this fall, it is vital that we all make changes to lower outdoor water use," said Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger.

"With more rain expected this weekend, now is the perfect time to act. Plants, flowers and lawns need less water now that they've survived the summer heat. You should only be watering two or three days a week at the most. Gardens and plants will do better with less, and you'll save precious water and money," Kightlinger said.

The water-saving reminder comes a day after the state Department of Water Resources announced that Metropolitan's initial allocation of water supplies from Northern California, through the State Water Project, is only 15 percent of a full allocation. Low reservoir storage levels, combined with environmental factors in Northern California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, are reasons behind the low initial supplies.

Kightlinger said Metropolitan continues to monitor weather conditions and water storage levels. If the region faces a water shortage in 2009, Metropolitan has a plan in place to equitably distribute supplies among its 26 member public agencies, while preserving emergency reserves.

If Metropolitan were to cut back its deliveries to its member agencies next year, Kightlinger said it would likely trigger various forms of water rationing in portions of the Southland.

"The stakes are too high for all of us not to do our part and conserve as much water as we can," Kightlinger said. "The outdoors, where about 60 percent of water is used, offers the best opportunity to save. We can start this weekend by shutting off our sprinklers when it rains."

As the region transitions into the fall's expected cooler temperatures, Debra C. Man, Metropolitan's chief operating officer and assistant general manager, urged consumers and businesses to visit "bewaterwise.com" for the latest conservation tips and information on California Friendly landscaping and rebates for water-saving devices and appliances.

The Web site, hosted by Metropolitan and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies, also offers water-saving irrigation tools that help consumers tweak outdoor irrigation schedules to be more efficient and true to their landscape needs.

"These simple tools can save money and water by synchronizing sprinkler schedules and seasonal water needs," Man said.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.