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Los Angeles water use is creeping up

Sprinklers

Los Angeles water use, which fell by nearly a fifth during the recent state drought, is creeping up.

During an eight-month period ending in March, the city’s overall water use rose almost 3% compared with the same period in the previous fiscal year. Single-family home use jumped more than 5%.

"Recently we’ve noticed water use on the rise," James McDaniel, Department of Water and Power senior assistant general manager, said in a statement. "We’re asking our customers to once again take a look at their water use and see how they can use less."

Although the statewide drought was declared officially over last year, water conservation rules adopted by the city in 2009 remain in effect. They restrict outdoor sprinkler use to three days a week, before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m., for a maximum of eight minutes per station. Hosing down driveways and sidewalks is also prohibited.

Major reservoirs in Northern California are at above normal levels for the date, thanks to late-season storms and carryover from last year, when the snowpack was enormous. A wet winter in 2011 helped reduce per-capita water use in Los Angeles to 123 gallons per day, the lowest in more than four decades.

This year the pendulum swung back. Los Angeles rainfall and the statewide snowpack were well below normal. The city, which typically gets about half its supplies from Eastern Sierra snowmelt, this year expects to get only 26%.

That means the DWP will have to increase its purchase of more expensive Northern California supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

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-- Bettina Boxall

Photo: The city's overall water use rose almost 3% during an eight-month period ending in March, compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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