June 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Southern California’s water-management district allocates millions to encourage saving water

Southern California’s regional water-management district allocated another $40 million on Tuesday to its program of rebates to encourage residents to take water-saving steps such as replacing turf lawns.

The action marked the second time this year the Metropolitan Water District increased its incentive budget. The MWD board in February added $20 million to the budget. Today’s action brought the fund to $100 million.

MWD General Manager Jeff Kightlinger said public awareness of the rebates, coupled with extensive outreach about the need to conserve, has led to elevated demand.

“We’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said. “Last year, we spent a total of $18.6 million on our entire conservation budget, which is nearly equal to the amount expended during just the first five months of the current fiscal year. Driven by the public’s response to the increased turf removal incentive, overall rebate requests are already more than nine times the total rebates paid last year.”

The MWD board also developed an amended plan for allocating water to its 26 member agencies in case the drought continues. The plan will allocate water partly based on agencies’ dependency on the district’s imported supplies, while taking into account other local supply sources.

The plan also takes into account the impact on retail customers and the economy; changes and losses in local supplies; the investment in and development of local resources, and conservation achievements. 

The plan was not implemented, but will be if the region’s water supply continues to be a challenge.

“Making tough decisions about restricting supplies is one of the hardest things we do as a water board,” said MWD board Chairman Randy Record.

“By taking this action today, we are better prepared to manage water shortages should the situation worsen.”

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