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Los Angeles claims a victory in reducing water usage


LA water use, droughtStringent water restrictions in Los Angeles, recently enacted in the face of impending shortages, appear to be working. The city's utility reports that June demand dropped by 11 percent from last year's levels to a 32-year low for the month.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which serves approximately four million residents, instituted mandatory restrictions at the start of June, limiting sprinkler use to two days a week and prohibiting watering of any kind during the middle of the day, among other measures.

Peter Gleick, president of the nonprofit Pacific Institute, hailed the drop as a victory on his blog for the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is precisely what we've been arguing for years and continue to argue [for]," Gleick wrote.

But not everyone considers the water rationing a win-win. "The twice-a-week restrictions are turning people's lawns brown, which hurts home values in our neighborhoods," Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith told the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles utility has a solution for suffering greenery, a sort of cash-for-clunkers program for water-thirsty lawns: a $1 rebate for every square foot that residential customers convert from lawn to drought-resistant landscapes.

Photo credit: © iStockphoto/dbuffoon

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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