LADWP reports water use down in December

– Press release from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Tuesday reported its latest water conservation metrics showing that its customers used 20.9% less water in December than they did in the previous year; residential water use was down to 61.5 gallons per day in December compared to 77.1 gallons in November.


File photo

These numbers, provided to the State Water Resources Control Board, report a timely and favorable response to the statewide drought with the announcement of LADWP’s recent snow survey in the Eastern Sierras continuing to track the driest year on record.

The Mammoth Pass snowpack water content is 21 percent of normal to date, with 5.9 inches of water on the ground in the form of snow. The data on six remote snow sensors in the Eastern Sierra help forecast the amount of runoff that will flow into the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

LADWP’s snow survey follows the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) announcement of the dismal results of its snow survey for Echo summit last week. DWR reported the snowpack to be only 12% of normal at the location, and 25% statewide.

“I want to thank Angelenos for responding to our call to conserve water,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It’s  critical that we keep conserving as we enter what is shaping up to be a fourth year of serious drought.”

Marty Adams, Senior Assistant General Manager of the LADWP Water System said, “With the dire conditions in the Eastern Sierras, we are grateful for LADWP customers’ sustained commitment to water conservation. While we did get some relief from a couple of storms in December, the 20.9% reduction in water use means our customers continue to respond to the drought, shutting off their sprinklers in anticipation of the rains to reduce outdoor water use. We can tell that conservation remains at the forefront of people’s minds, and they have made lifestyle changes to help meet Mayor Eric Garcetti’s call to reduce our per capita water use by 20% by 2017.”

Under the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance, outdoor watering with sprinklers is currently limited to three days a week, which in most instances for residential customers, can be completely shutoff during the cooler fall-winter season.  Customers are urged to re-set sprinkler times, double-check for leaks indoors and outdoors, and consider replacing their water-thirsty lawn during this dormant growing season. Customers can take advantage of the Cash In Your Lawn Program, which rebates up to $3.75 for every square foot of turf removed in favor of California-friendly plants or permeable hardscape.

LADWP relies upon runoff from the Eastern Sierra as a major source of water for Los Angeles’ four million residents, brought south via the Los Angeles Aqueduct and blended with local groundwater and other imported sources. In the last five years, the Los Angeles Aqueduct supplied approximately 34% of L.A.’s drinking water.  LADWP begins gathering remote snowpack water content data in late October.

To verify the remote sensor readings, each year on February 1, March 1 and April 1, LADWP snow surveyors journey into the backcountry via snowcats and on snowshoes and skis to measure each location by hand. When snow first falls, 10 inches of powder is roughly equivalent to one inch of water content. However, as the snowpack settles over time, approximately three or four inches of snowpack equates to one inch of water content. Snowpack records at many of the locations go back almost a century, and the LADWP uses the average of the last 50 years to predict water runoff and deliveries to the City.

For more information about water conservation in Los Angeles, visit

For more information about LADWP precipitation conditions and snow surveys, visit

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4 Responses to LADWP reports water use down in December

  1. Ken Warner February 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    People are thinking in months right now: “maybe March will be wetter”. The mindsets may have to change to years: 2014 was dry — let;s hope 2015 and 2016 are wetter.

    There have been 100 year droughts in the SouthWest. It would be prudent to prepare for it by building desalination plants as fast as possible.

    • Desert Tortoise February 5, 2015 at 11:18 am #

      Desal is probably the least desirable method. Water from desal plants costs upwards of $2000 per acre foot. In addition to the high cost, you need huge amounts of electricity to run such a plant. The region does not have the necessary generation capacity to support large scale desal, and building that many big power plants is not something most people want to see happen. In addition, those plants will consume large amounts of natural gas. Last, desal creates a waste stream of concentrated brine and pollutants that has to be disposed of. You can’t dump it back into the oceans.

      A much less costly means to generate fresh water is to treat sewage to a drinkable standard and pump this back into local aquifers. Orange County has been doing this for many years and water from this source costs around $1200 per acre foot, comparable to the price of water from the California Aqueduct. LA is building their own plant right now (along with two plants to remove toxins from San Fernando Valley groundwater so the city can take full advantage of that aquifer, which it cannot now due to all the chromium 6 and trichloroethane in the groundwater, a legacy of all the defense aerospace firms located there during the Cold War. Recharging aquifers with treated sewage and fully capturing runoff to recharge aquifers is the smart way to go. Desal is much too costly and has too many drawbacks that cannot be mitigated.

      • Ken Warner February 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

        DT: Yes, recycled “gray water” is great — as long as you got the water to flush your poop. That initial poop flush has to come from somewhere.

        • Desert Tortoise February 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

          Ken, I am not talking about gray water. With this system, municipal sewage is treated to a pure, drinkable standard and pumped back into the aquifer where it mixes with natural groundwater. Groundwater later pumped back to the surface, treated like any other groundwater, and put into the municipal water system. It is potable when it goes into the ground but to get people over the yuck factor agencies like Orange County Water Authority will pump the treated water into the local aquifer where it mixes with natural ground water.


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