By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale residents have been taking water conservation seriously, keeping their usage well within California state guidelines despite increased construction of multi-unit family residences. Single family homes decreased water usage by 3000 acre feet of water in 2013 and 2500 acre feet in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
“The most drastic reduction is irrigation,” said Steve Zurn, general manager of Glendale Water and Power.
The city did not see that same dramatic drop in multi-unit residential areas as they did in single family. With reductions of 1000 acre feet of water from 2013 to 2015, however, it was still a noteworthy reduction.
“Even with the added units we are dropping [due to the] tremendous efforts of the residents,” Zurn said.
Zurn praised residents for taking conservation seriously since Gov. Jerry Brown announced the Drought State of Emergency in 2011.
Even during the hottest days, like Monday when residents used a little more water, there were still conservation efforts made.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California, is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities including Glendale. MWD recently announced conservation efforts have been successful. However, that does not mean Glendale stakeholders can return to their water habits prior to the drought. “We always have to be prudent,” Zurn said.
He added that although MWD has enough reserves it is still “preaching” conservation. Zurn also feels conservation efforts are here to stay even when the drought ends.
“One of the things that occurs during these extreme drought periods with mandatory [conservation] is even if there would be unlimited water [supplies] use would not go up [dramatically],” he said.
Customers have a habit of conserving now, which can be as simple as not leaving the water running while brushing their teeth to realizing they can get by with two to three days of irrigating their lawns as opposed to daily, he added.
GWP has not relaxed any conservation restrictions as of yet but may do so in the future. GWP representatives will approach the Glendale City Council in mid-July to discuss any change in the mandatory restriction, Zurn said.
From the electric side, Glendale customers have not suffered the rolling blackouts many Southern California Edison customers have during this week of high temperatures. As far as infrastructure, Zurn said GWP staff has done a good job maintaining and repairing equipment.
“Our storage and pumping is all in good shape,” he said. “We know our engineers are looking at age, population growth and usage patterns.”
At present on the water side, GWP is in year three of a four-year contract, which will see a rate increase to customers of 4% the first of July and another 4% in July 2017. On the electric side, GWP is in year three of a five-year agreement that will see a rate increase of 2% as of July 1.