Another part of the water resources management program was
the development of new and stronger conservation measures.
The program of water metering initiated by Mulholland had, by
1985, resulted in a per capita daily use of 178 gallons overall and 111
gallons for domestic use. This
rate of use, though only 50% to 60% of that of unmetered cities such as
Sacramento, was not enough.
During the 1977-78 stateside drought, the City renewed its
efforts to strengthen its water conservation program. What resulted was one of the most aggressive and
comprehensive on-going water conservation programs in California.
Under this program, the City developed public information
and school education programs to promote the reinforcement of
conservation ethics among its citizens.
Through distribution of conservation kits and audits for all
types of residence, business, and landscapes uses, Los Angeles has
helped to focus public attention on water conservation.
Consumers are aided in monitoring their consumption through
billing programs that compare use from year to year.
To further encourage conservation, the City has seasonal
water rates that are approximately 20% greater during the summer higher
use period. And to
reinforce the conservation message, the Department sponsors an annual
Water Conservation Gardens contest that rewards residents who use
drought tolerant plants that require less water to create beautiful
At the domestic level, the Department enables City
residents to further conserve water by providing them with several water
conservation devices. The
DWP provides, upon request, free water conservation kits that include
low-flow showerheads, water displacement bags for toilet tanks, and dye
tablets that help to detect toilet tank leaks to residential customers.
The City has also undertaken its own conservation measures,
including a program to replace water mains nearing the end of their
useful life. This
comprehensive replacement program helps to reduce losses through the
DWP’s domestic distribution system.
In addition, the City of Los Angeles has recognized the need to be able to respond to the water needs of its citizens in an emergency. In 1977, a Blue Ribbon Water Conservation Committee, appointed by the Mayor, recommended the adoption of the Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance. By adopting this ordinance, the City Council has empowered the mayor to impose mandatory water conservation measures in droughts and other emergencies. Thus Los Angeles is both prepared to meet emergencies and accepts the responsibility to conserve and protect this vital resource.