L.A. water use plummets during hot summer amid calls to conserve during drought
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
California has had two years of droughts this year. But people in that state haven’t had as much water as they need because of a lack of conservation. Our guest has been talking to people who are trying to do just that. And she joins us now. We’ll also hear about what’s happening in the rest of the state. She’s the agriculture reporter for the LA Times. Thanks so much for being with us.
LAURA STANLEY: Thank you for having me.
BLOCK: As we mentioned, there’s a bit of a drought going on in the rest of the state right now. But let’s take a quick look at how it may affect Los Angeles as well. The water use in Los Angeles during the summertime is down 50 percent after decades of growth. And you can see in this chart right here, water use in Los Angeles fell during the first half of the year to its lowest level in a decade. But the same report shows Los Angeles will have much more water coming from the rest of the state in the winter.
STANLEY: The city of Los Angeles gets most of its water from the Colorado River. But what the water is used for is actually pretty local. So we use more water than we do during the dry months. The city of Los Angeles has been using so many water resources because the economy is so focused on the area. The water is pretty widely used in that area, and Los Angeles depends on these resources.
BLOCK: And you hear this in other cities like San Diego and Long Beach. But there’s a lot of anxiety in many places throughout the state about whether there’s enough water for the spring and summer, and whether there’s enough to carry them through the dry winter months. So how is the city of Los Angeles dealing with these challenges?
STANLEY: In the short term, there are plenty of people who are just dealing with it right now. In my reporting, it’s almost as if people who have lived here their whole life are like: They’re going to have to deal with this. There’s been water problems before, and we’ve always had to make an adjustment. But this is the first time in about 100 years that there’s really been an expectation that the water supplies could go out.