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Water conservation: Sierra Club rates L.A. and Orange County cities

July 13, 2011 |  6:47 pm

Nearly half of of the water conservation programs in 122 Los Angeles and Orange county cities fell into the “poor” or “worst” categories, in a new survey released this week.

The Sierra Club Los Angeles Chapter unveiled a scorecard grading Los Angeles and Orange counties' incorporated cities on, among other things, their water use, water waste, implementation of building standards and other conservation efforts. The intent of the study was to gauge how cities are sharing in the responsibility of saving water now, and to show officials how they can update and expand existing conservation efforts.

“Reliable water resources are essential for the well-being of metropolitan residents and local economies in Southern California,” said Ron Silverman, the senior chapter director. 

The five cities with the best rating were Los Angeles, La Verne, Mission Viejo, Burbank and La Palma. All scored 15 points or higher out of a possible 19.

The five cities with the worst scores were Rancho Palos Verdes -- which earned one point -- and Baldwin Park, La Puente, Palos Verdes Estates and South El Monte, all of which got zeros.

The Sierra Club judged cities on their: 

  • Water usage restrictions and practices during a shortage.
  • Efficient use of water systems and landscape irrigation, such as the number of gallons employed per toilet flush and the installation of smart controllers to avoid over-watering lawns.
  • Mandatory conservation policies

“Despite this year’s rains and record snowpack, long-term water shortfalls are projected due to population increases and global climate change.  It is incumbent upon local cities to mandate long-term, effective water conservation,” said Charming Evelyn, chairwoman of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Water Committee.  "Water conservation ordinances and sustainable water policies are among the most cost-effective means for cities to address declining water supplies.”

The Sierra Club used criteria based on conservation measures implemented in the last 10 years and promoted by organizations such as the California Urban Water Conservation Council. 

To see how well your city did, click here.


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Photo: Moses Guardado watches as a geyser from a broken water main towers over local businesses at the corner of Sherman Way and Van Nuys Boulevard in Van Nuys on Nov. 2, 2009. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times