Southern California residents urged to conserve water


"What happens if we don't do that? Then it becomes unsustainable and we have to start looking at different approaches: Are we going to have to have mandatory rationing? Are we going to have sorts of draconian penalties? So if we can encourage people to do this voluntarily, that's going to be the best approach," said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan District of Southern California.

The water district is now offering subsidies if you use water saving devices, such as efficient toilets, rain barrels and soil moisture sensors.

"It's good neighbor policy. It's nice to help the city and it's nice for us. It helps keep costs down," said John Roads of Silver Lake.

Typically, about half of a household's water-use is concentrated outside, so officials are urging everyone to switch to native plants that don't require as much water. That's what Roads and his partner have done with their "zeroscaped" garden.

"It's a lot easier to take care of," he said. "And there's just such a huge variety of the different things you can get."

So while Southern California's population continues to grow, officials hope everyone can do their part to help with our water shortage.

"We import this year about 20-25 percent less water than we did in 1990, and yet we have five million more people, and we've done that primarily through conservation," said Kightlinger.

Paz Stark of Silver Lake says she teaches water conservation at her home.

"I have two children, so what I try to do is just remind them that when they are washing their hands, not to run it; showers are short; baths are not full up. I think it's the little things," said Stark.

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