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LA sets record for water efficiency

August 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Angelenos are setting records for water conservation and energy efficiency.When it comes to saving water and energy, Doll Hansen has learned to be stingy. She recycles water for her plants. And she even unplugs her appliances.

"This used to be grass, but I had the grass taken out and put wood chips there," said Hansen.

When you multiply these measures across the city Angelenos have set new records for energy efficiency and water conservation.

"Residents have helped the city achieve to new records in water and energy efficiency this year," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Angelenos saved a record 318 gigawatt-hours during fiscal year 2008-2009."

The mayor says that's the equivalent of taking 53,000 homes off the energy grid, or eliminating 34,000 cars in terms of reducing green house gases.

Who saved the most water?

In single-family residential properties, water use declined by 20.1 percent; in multi-family residential properties, 8.3 percent; commercial properties, 17.1 percent; industrial properties, 21.8 percent; and government properties, 34.4 percent.

But DWP customers got some help breaking that record -- an unusually cool summer -- that is until this week.

To hold the line, inspectors have been out looking for water wasters, citing offenders. There was even a complaint from neighbors of the mayor. He blames a faulty control system.

Villaraigosa said the "smart irrigation system" was one of the most advanced systems anywhere, "but yes, there was a glitch and, apparently, it was running on in the evening."

Restrictions are paying off. So are incentive programs like light bulb giveaways. The DWP looks ahead to more measures to hit long range goals.

"We are making healthy strides in the right direction" said David Nahai, the DWP's chief executive officer and general manager.

Doll Hansen says she's inspired to do more.

"I think it is a matter of global awareness," said Hansen.

And she likes the lower utility bill.

Much of the savings in water use was attributed to an ordinance that banned residents from turning on their sprinklers more than twice a week and never between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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