Commentary: If you’re running sprinklers, you’re wasting water

By Ryan J. Alsop
Director of Government & Public Affairs
Long Beach Water

The Long Beach Water Department is again reminding residents of Long Beach to take advantage of the rain we’re getting and shut off all irrigation systems for the next couple of weeks. Recent rainfall eliminates the need to water our landscaped areas.
“This rain we’re getting allows us to really ratchet down outdoor water use, which can save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water,” according to Matt Lyons, Director of Conservation and Planning for the Long Beach Water Department. “We need to be taking advantage of it.”
Despite the recent rain activity in southern California, northern California watersheds remain in extreme drought conditions. In fact, snowpack in the northern Sierra Nevada, a primary water source for the California Bay Delta, continues to be way below normal for the year.
Early last month, the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners issued a new water supply alert for Long Beach and southern California, due to extremely weak precipitation and snowpack in the northern Sierra Nevada, an uneventful forecast for northern California watersheds, including new predictions of dry La Nina conditions forming in the Pacific Ocean, extremely low water supply reserve levels, and the anticipated additional curtailment of imported water deliveries from north to south due to endangered species issues.
The new alert urges Long Beach residents to sustain the city’s record-breaking reductions in water use. More importantly, Long Beach Water officials are urging area cities to engage their residents. “Our current water supply conditions should be a catalyst for southern California water supply managers to immediately increase action on extraordinary conservation measures, particularly prohibiting certain outdoor uses of water,” stated John Allen, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners.
On September 13, 2007, the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners issued a Declaration of Imminent Water Supply Shortage and activated the City’s Emergency Water Supply Shortage Plan. As a result, the Board of Water Commissioners issued mandatory prohibitions on certain outdoor uses of water. “The Board took the action it did, over a year ago now, to forestall and lessen the impact of an expected water supply shortage,” according to Board president John Allen. The Board’s Declaration in 2007 was necessitated by the profound impact of permanent reductions to imported water deliveries into southern California, the dramatic reductions in water storage levels in key reservoirs in northern California, and climate realities.
The public may report water wasters, both public and private, by visiting www.lbwater.org.