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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

L.A. Celebrates Successful Year Of Water Conservation

As Mayor Garcetti celebrates succesful conservation efforts, some L.A. cities are struggling to be as agressive. 

It's been one year since Mayor Eric Garcetti signed ED5, a bold executive order to curb the city's excessive water use. During a press conference Tuesday, the mayor announced the city was on track to meet the firm guidlines. "The scale of our challenge was truly unprecedented, but the reaction was unprecedented as well" he said. 

The mayor said in just one year the city has reduced water use by 16 percent, and the goal of 20 percent by 2017 is on track to be achieved. 

"We're conserving, leading by example, and providing incentives for Angelinos to help create a more sustainable, and more resilient city" he said. 

As Garcetti celebrates this stride of success, he says it’s important to keep conserving as we move forward. Phase 2 of his Emergency Drought Response plan calls for the introduction of a tiered-rate system by the Department of Water and Power. The new rate structure would reward those who conserve with lower rates than their wasteful neighbors.

Environmental experts agree that this is the right next step. "We need a very low bottom tier for people to get access to water and their basic need, but after that it has to go up tremendously," said Kelly Sanders, an Environmental Engineering professor at the University of Southern California. "We live in a climate where you really shouldn't have green lawns everywhere. And at some point we're going to have to grapple with this."

In Los Angeles County, lawn watering has contributed to a large percentage of the excessive water use. The California state Water Board levied a $61,000 fine against the city of Beverly Hills Thursday, saying they need to do more to curb water usage by wealthy residents. 

"It's not an infinite supply of drinking water. We have to come to a different mentality about it" said DWP General Manager Marty Adams. "You're probably not gonna get there just by pricing, now hopefully the enforcement, the penalties, and the actions will cause some people to really step up and take note."

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