Long Beach residents reduced their water use by 14% in July 

Long Beach residents and businesses this summer came close to meeting the state’s goal of reducing water use of 15% have during California’s driest year on record.

In July, Long Beach reduced its water use by 14% compared to 2020, the year against which current water conservation data are measured as it was the first year of the states current ongoing drought, following a three-month trend of water use reductions this summer. Residents saved 4% and 11% in May and June, respectively.

The city’s numbers are better than the state as a whole, which saw a 3% reduction in May and an 8% reduction in June. The state has not yet released its water use data for July.

“Long Beach has always been a leader in water conservation and our residents and businesses have always stepped up and done everything they can to make sure that we conserve water,” said Lauren Gold, spokesperson for the Long Beach Water Department.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May 2022 call to water agencies across the state to take more aggressive actions in communicating the drought emergency and pushing water conservation efforts to their residents, the department entered Stage 2 of its water shortage plan and limited outdoor watering to two days per week.

Additionally, the department credits some of the city’s water conservation to the wide array of programs they have available to assist residents in using their water efficiently, whether through installing drought tolerant plants in their yards or switching to efficient appliances.

Each year about 150 customers complete Lawn To Garden projects, resulting in the replacement of approximately 150,000 square feet of turf to drought tolerant plants, said Gold.

The Native Plant Parkway Program, which is newer, has had 96 completed projects so far, increasing water conservation through installing California-native plants that hold up well in the state’s dry climate, she said. There have also been 17 projects completed through the Direct Install Garden Pilot Program, which provided free installation of drought-tolerant gardens for households and over 1,000 apartments have been retrofitted with new water efficient appliances like washers, toilets, and shower heads for free through the Direct Installation for Multi-Family Efficiency Program.

Both programs are gearing up to accept applications again soon, said Gold.

“We’re really proud of the work our residents and businesses have done,” said Gold. “We hope they keep it up as we continue to face this drought going forward.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify why 2020 is used as the baseline year for water conservation data.

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Laura Anaya-Morga is a general assignment reporter for the Long Beach Post.