By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale residents will be able to water their lawns one more day a week as Glendale Water and Power relaxes from Phase III to Phase II in water conservation.
The Glendale City Council voted to relax the mandatory conservation to allow residents to increase exterior watering from two days a week to three days.
“Since May, 2016 [GWP] customers have saved 2.1 billion gallons of water compared to [that time period in] 2013,” Zurn said. “Glendale met the original State mandated cumulative conservation standard of 20% and came in 21% overall,” Zurn said. “The drought of 2015 was unprecedented and Glendale responded.”
Zurn said that relaxing the conservation to allow one more day of watering is not a signal that the drought is over, or that conservation will end—in fact he agrees with Governor Jerry Brown and his executive order “Making Water Conservation A California Way of Life.”
Although the rainy season this year was expected to bring torrential rains thanks to El Niño, those rains did not occur in Southern California.
“[The rain] never came to fruition quite the way [we had hoped] in Southern California,” Zurn said, although northern California received close to average rain and snow fall.
GWP receives 70% of its water through Metropolitan Water District.
“Whatever MWD does is going to drive our program,” he said.
On May 10, 2016 MWD’s board of directors lifted MWD’s water supply allocation and implemented a Water Supply Alert. Projections show that the agency will be able to increase the water storage in its reservoirs for the first time in four years.
Zurn praised MWD’s infrastructure investment.
“Their water storage facilities are impressive,” he said.
He added that GWP customers continue to conserve and he feels they will continue this conservation, which has now become a habit to most.
GWP also recommended to temporarily lift the drought charge from Oct. 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017. The Drought Charge, according to GWP website, was designed such that customers who meet the curtailment target will likely not experience an increase in the total bill. The Council voted to lift that drought charge.
The relaxed conservation is temporary and will be revisited again in March 2017.
“We are emerging from the worst drought we have ever faced but we are not out of the drought,” he said.