Long Beach Enters Stage 1 Water Supply Shortage, First in City’s History

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The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners declared a Stage 1 Water Supply Shortage Thursday that will put into effect a two-day per week landscape watering schedule on Mondays and Thursdays until the end of March 2015. Three-day per week landscape watering will resume in the summer months from April 1st, 2015 to September 30th, 2015. The Board’s action moves the Conservation and Water Supply Shortage Plan up from the Imminent Water Supply Shortage declared in February.

“As drought conditions continue to worsen, it is in the City’s best interest that the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners declare a Stage 1 Water Supply Shortage, reducing landscape watering to two days a week through the winter,” said Harry Saltzgaver, President of the Board of Water Commissioners. “The Board is enacting these extra restrictions as an effort to conserve even more water rather than raise customer rates.”

The Stage 1 declaration comes in time as the State Water Project allocation is expected to be set at the lowest percent ever for the 2015 calendar year due to predictions that Lake Oroville, the reservoir that feeds the State Water Project and southern California, will hit its lowest level in history before December 31st.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Long Beach’s regional wholesaler for imported water supplies, will use half of all of its stored water in the 2014 calendar year.

“As the state’s reservoirs continue to reach record lows, this Stage 1 declaration, the first in Long Beach Water’s history, should signal the state of emergency we really are in,” said Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “This declaration will help avoid or lessen the impact of the severe water shortage that will occur if key watersheds experience only normal to below-normal precipitation this winter.”

“The state receives almost all of its precipitation from the months of November to March,” added Wattier. “November has not had significant rainfall, and now we have to see what the rest of the winter months will bring.”

Since the time the Board declared an Imminent Water Supply Shortage in February, Long Beach’s water demand greatly reduced in the summer months. In July, water use was 21 percent below the historical average, the lowest since 1958. In August, water use was 23 percent below the historical average, again the lowest since 1958. This past September, water use was 19 percent below the historical average, the lowest since 1965.

Long Beach Water will continue to monitor water waste reports, and residents can report water violations via www.lbwater.org, the hotline number (562-570-2455) or through the department’s new Report a Water Waster mobile app.

Water restrictions in effect:

  • Residents and businesses can only irrigate landscape on Mondays and Thursdays until March 31st, 2015
  • Residents and businesses can only irrigate landscape 10 minutes per station per watering day, or 20 minutes if using water-efficient rotating nozzles
  • Residents and businesses can only irrigate landscape before 9am or after 4pm
  • Residents cannot fill swimming pools and spas with potable water
  • Restaurants cannot serve water to customers without the customer requesting it
  • Residents and businesses cannot irrigate the landscape beyond saturation, causing significant runoff
  • Residents and businesses cannot hose down hardscape with a hose, unless using a pressurized cleaning device
  • Residents cannot wash a vehicle with a hose unless it has a water shut-off nozzle or device attached to the hose
  • Residents and businesses cannot allow the wasting of water due to breaks, leaks or other malfunctions in the plumbing or distribution system
  • Hotels and motels must post signs to notify patrons they can choose not to have linens and towels washed daily

Long Beach Water is an urban, Southern California retail water supply agency, and the standard in water conservation and environmental stewardship.

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