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Pasadena In Focus
May - June 2009

Council Approves Comprehensive Water Conservation Plan

 At its regular meeting on April 13, 2009, City Council approved PWP’s “Comprehensive Water Conservation Plan,” a roadmap for reducing water consumption citywide by 10, 20 and 30 percent. PWP designed this plan in anticipation of continuing drought conditions, which have depleted our local groundwater supply, and distribution cuts of 10 to15 percent from our imported water supplier, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD).

Pasadena has long gotten most of its water supply (more than 60 percent) from MWD, which itself is experiencing a very tight water supply situation due to long-term drought and restricted pumping rights in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where it sources most of its own supply. Last month MWD announced that it will, in turn, reduce allocations to its 26 member agencies, including Pasadena, effective July 1, 2009. MWD will then impose surcharges on Pasadena if our city exceeds the allocation targets prescribed by MWD.

Right on time, PWP’s Comprehensive Water Conservation Plan provides a necessary roadmap to help our city and customers navigate just such a situation, and worse water shortage scenarios, should they arise in the future. The Plan takes a multi-pronged approach to achieving water conservation targets:

  • Implementing a new water rate structure to encourage conservation
  • Adopting and/or amending city ordinances to promote sustainable water use, such as permanently prohibiting certain forms of water waste and adopting water use limitations on new development;
  • Providing water use audits, enhanced incentives for efficient practices and technology, and fully-subsidized installations of select technology innovations;
  • Providing water use education, outreach and information, including usage data on bills.

While each of these approaches will contribute significantly to water conservation efforts, implementing a new rate structure and adopting sustainability ordinances are most critical to the overall success of the Plan. It’s important to note, however, that while the Council did approve the Plan in concept, changes to rates and ordinances are subject to public hearing. Look for notices of public hearing on these critical matters in this and future editions of Pasadena In Focus or online at www.cityofpasadena.net/savewater, where you may also read the 26-page Comprehensive Water Conservation Plan in full.