Los Angeles Water Restrictions

by Curt Burnett on August 24, 2009

The effect of all these efforts is beginning to trickle down. In June, the most recent figures available, city water use dropped by 12.7% compared with the same month in 2008, the lowest overall level of consumption in 32 years.

from The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2009

A report in the Wall Street Journal covers the efforts of water authorities in the greater Los Angeles area to decrease water use. This includes using “water cops” to issue citations and, as a last resort, $100 fines to Angelenos who break water conservation rules. Another tactic is to encourage neighbors to either report the offenders or hang a water conservation tag on their doorknob as a gentle reminder.

And reminding rather than coercion seems to be a theme of the current effort:

“The last major drought was about two decades ago,” said David Nahai, the head of the city’s Department of Water and Power. “People may have forgotten that we live in a semi-arid area”

The article points to the effectiveness of a tiered billing structure, something most experts on billing structure recommend in drought-affected urban areas:

The biggest threat water wasters face is their bill. Under the city’s two-tiered billing structure, rates spike by 45% for customers who use more than a certain amount. Fashion designer Ann Ferriday said her water bill became “something crazy, like $450,” which she said might be attributable to her pool, which needs to be refilled from time to time, and her daily lawn waterings.
“My bill was so outrageous,” she said. “They said I was on this upper tier and I couldn’t figure out why.” She has since tried to remedy her water problems. But she said she can’t wait till the drought ends “so that everything can go back to normal.”

Ms. Ferriday may have a long wait.

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