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LA Mayor Launches ‘Save the Drop’ Campaign Amidst California’s Record-Breaking Drought

Fire Road - the California drought

Fire Road - the California droughtIn an effort to mobilize efforts to conserve water in the face of the unprecedented California drought, Los Angles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced yesterday the launch of “Save the Drop,” a campaign designed to to coordinate existing water conservation outreach programs across the city.

The campaign launch comes on the heals of California Governor Jerry Brown issuing the first mandatory urban water restrictions in the state’s history. The statewide restrictions call for cities and towns across the state to reduce water consumption 25 percent, compared to 2013 usage levels, as snowpack last week measured just 5 percent of its long-term average.

Chart illustrates the record decline in snowpack, helping to feed the historic California drought

To help illustrate how LA residents can effectively respond to the drought, Garcetti announced the start of the Save a Drop campaign in front of a home in Van Nuys whose owner used a “lawn replacement” rebate provided by the Department of Water and Power to replant with more drought-tolerant native California landscaping.

“Today we launch an unprecedented outreach campaign making sure that every Angeleno is informed about her role that she can play,”Garcetti told reporters, “that he can play here in Los Angeles to make sure they are helping us get through this drought and survive, lower your water use, and at the same time, lower your water bills.” 

While Governor Brown’s executive order calls for a statewide cut of 25 percent, the actual percentage reduction each water district and municipality faces depends on current consumption and conservation levels. The preliminary framework of the order calls for Los Angeles to cut water consumption 20 percent by 2016. Several months ago Garcetti ordered a citywide 20 percent reduction in freshwater use by 2017. City officials say that current conservation efforts are on track to meet that goal, though presumably the city still needs to step up its efforts to meet the call by 2016 as mandated by Brown.

Statewide water conservation has a long way to go. Data just released from the California Water Board show that Californians saved less water in February than any prior month since the board began monitoring conservation efforts last summer. Water use reduction was just 3 percent compared to February of 2014. This after the driest January in the state on record.

The drought may portend a new normal for residents of the state, as Governor Brown emphasized last week at his press conference in the foothills of Sierra Nevada mountains:

“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow,” Brown said.  “We’re in a new era. The idea of your nice little green grass getting water every day, that’s going to be a thing of the past.”


Featured image credit Russ Seidel, courtesy flickr. Graph courtesy of SFGate.com

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