Rains and Drought 

Earlier this month, drought-stricken Southern California experienced fantastic rainfall, the kind that lowers air pressure, creates that lovely white noise and makes people want to take a nap. Still, even with some areas receiving as much as four inches of rain, drought conditions have only slightly improved in the region. In other words, we’re still in a drought and need to be ready for the work ahead because we’re at the point where we must understand the drought as our new normal and plan accordingly. 

What are we preparing for exactly? Climate change is causing weather extremes, so both our droughts and wet years are becoming more intense. And, aridification is changing our region into drier landscapes and climates. The result is an increase in heat waves and wildfires and a decrease in available water. Scientists warn that California’s water supply will shrink by 10% by 2040. 

Throughout my time in elected office, I’ve worked on water resources, beginning during my time on the Glendale City Council when I served as the city’s representative on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board of directors. The cities in our region have been working together for decades to ensure that we all have sustainable and reliable water resources.  

The work at the local level served as the foundation for my work in the California State Assembly on drought resiliency and water efficiency. In 2017, I worked with my colleagues and Gov. Jerry Brown to pass legislation that set statewide standards for efficiency and long-term plans for both rural and urban water usage. Water is our most precious resource in California and we owe it to today’s residents and future generations to manage it wisely.  

That’s why I was pleased to see Gov. Gavin Newsom build on our work and unveil a drought strategy to bolster the state’s water supply. More than $8 billion has been earmarked to update the infrastructure and management of water throughout the state. With a focus on recycled water, reservoir storage expansion, and data collection on water usage by farmers, the California Water Supply Strategy specifies the following goals: 

  1. Create storage space for up to 4 million acre-feet of water to make the most of storms 
  2. Recycle and reuse at least 800,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2030 to enable better use of wastewater that currently discharges to the ocean
  3. Free up 500,000 acre-feet of water through efficiency and conservation efforts to help mitigate the water loss due to climate change
  4. Capture storm water and desalinate ocean and brackish water in groundwater basins to capture high flows during storms

The state is also working with local water agencies to ensure access to clean water. Some of our local agencies have done a great job of transitioning. For example, Burbank Water and Power currently incorporates 19% recycled water, reusing water initially purchased from the Metropolitan Water District. 

        As state and local agencies keep working to diversify and conserve our water supply, there are a number of ways that consumers can help save water at home. Here are a few tips on water conservation and local resources for rebates and incentives for you to create a more efficient home:

Residential Water Conservation Tips      

  1. Repair interior and exterior leaky faucets
  2. Update to more efficient equipment, such as toilets, dishwashers, laundry machines, etc.


  1. Don’t let the water run when brushing teeth, shaving, washing face, showering
  2. Do take showers rather than baths 
  3. Opt for the five-minute shower
  4. Consider watering a plant or garden instead of pouring excess water down drain
  5. Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket
  6. Install faucet aerators, low-flow shower heads, toilet dams


  1. Wash produce in a bowl of water instead of running the faucet
  2. Use a basin to wash and rinse dishes
  3. Run the dishwasher only when full 
  4. Compost scraps instead of using the garbage disposal
  5. Scrape, rather than rinse, plates and bowls before placing in dishwasher


  1. Wait until you have a full load before running the washing machine
  2. Choose the appropriate wash level on the machine 

Outside Activity

  1. Wash the car with a bucket and sponge, or use a commercial car wash that recycles water
  2. Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation between usage
  3. Use a broom to clean walkways and other outdoor spaces, instead of hosing with water
  4. Avoid water toys that need a continuous stream of water


  1. Use a screened vat for rainfall collection to prohibit mosquito growth
  2. Mulch flower beds to limit evaporation and promote plant growth
  3. Avoid watering on windy and hot days; water in the morning or late evenings
  4. Make sure sprinkler systems are watering plants and not streets or sidewalks
  5. Use moisture sensors on sprinkler systems
  6. Use native plants, which are lower maintenance and more drought-tolerant than ornamental plants

Did you know that many water agencies offer other incentives for customers looking to make changes? Below are links to some of the rebates and other programs offered by local agencies:

Turf Replacement and Native Plants Turf replacement, or replacing your lawn with native drought-resistant plants, is an effective and beautiful way to reduce water usage. There are rebate programs and guides that help you plan everything for a hardy and lush landscape. You’ll want to consider a storm water retention feature such as rain barrels, permeable hardscapes for water to flow into the ground, and an efficient irrigation system.

You can find turf replacement rebates and more information at

         Conservation Rebates for Glendale:

Glendale Water and Power offers rebates as well as an Energy & Water Efficiency Marketplace for useful products at a discount.

SoCal Water$mart Residential Rebates

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has a number of rebate programs for various appliances and tools.

California’s water system is in transition and has many challenges ahead but I know we are going to pull through together with everyone doing their part to save water. I promise to keep working on this and other important issues every day, and I hope you will join me by doing your part. And if you’re already on board with water conservation, thank you and let’s get others up to speed. 

As always, please reach out to me with any comments, questions, or concerns through my District Office at (818) 558-3043 or

Assemblymember Laura Friedman