Culver City taking steps to save water

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Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order, which will usher in new statewide water restrictions due to the historic drought conditions the state is facing, will require water agencies across California to revamp their water strategies.

The governor’s action imposes mandatory limits on residential, commercial and farm water use to combat the historic drought conditions. Golden State Water Company is the water provider to Culver City residents and businesses and has a Culver City office. Its officials are still unsure of how Brown’s order will alter how they conduct business.

“Golden State Water Company is reviewing the governor’s new water restrictions that include a directive to implement mandatory water reductions across California to cut water usage by 25 percent as compared to 2013,” said Toby Moore, the company’s chief hydrologist and water resources manager. “We will work closely with state agencies and the communities we serve to meet the goals that have been outlined, and we remain committed to educating our customers so they are aware of all regulations and can make informed decisions regarding their water use. We will communicate directly with customers as additional information becomes available.”

Culver City assistant to the city manager Shelly Wolfberg said the city’s staff is “discussing the issue” of the drought. Stephen Murray, a Culver City resident who ran for a seat on the West Basin Municipal Water District last year says the governor’smandatoryrestrictionsare a good start. But like others, he chastised Brown for excluding some special interests from the new limits.

“The big surprise was that he did not call out agriculture or government usage,” Murray said.

The water district, which serves Culver City, said in a statement that it plans to assist its cities and retail water agen- cies in implementing the gover- nor’s mandates.

“As we face one of California’s most historic droughts, we are encouraged by the Governor’s support for investments in local water supply projects including recycling and ocean water desalination,” West Basin Board President Gloria Gray said. “West Basin was one of the first Southern California water agencies to put a strong empha- sis on creating locally-controlled, drought-proof supplies.”

Murray called the water district’s response to the statewide mandates “insufficient” and said the board’s emphasis on turf removal was inadequate as a conservation measure. The state Water Resources Board is expected to draft regulations for new water usage by May.

In addition to the mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage, Brown ‘s executive order calls for the creation of a statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with water ef ficient models. Furthermore, the executive order will impose significant reductions in water use on golf courses, college and university campuses and structures with large landscapes; it will bar new homes and developments from using potable water for irrigation purposes without water-efficient drip irrigation systems and replace 50-million square feet of lawns throughout the state with “drought-tolerant landscaping.”

A Santa Monica based environmental organization applauded Brown’s order.

“About half of urban water in California goes to irrigate landscaping and turf such as lawns and golf courses. The executive order requirement for 50 million square foot turf to be replaced with drought tolerant plants is a huge win,” the organization said in a statement on its website.

“It’s precisely the kind of lead- ership needed in California to change our water ways toward smarter management and water use.

“Heal the Bay hopes the state Water Resources Control Board takes this directive further. Instead of sunsetting the mandatory water restriction in February 2016 as outlined in the executive order, the board should make the directive the new norm. California’s water woes aren’t going away. We live in a region of permanent drought. It won’t do anyone any good if water use boomerangs upwards once the restrictions expire.”

If the water board’s pro- posed rules are approved, they could take effect by June 1.

Culver City taking steps to save water