Drought spurs cuts to Catalina Island water use

AVALON, Calif. (KABC) -- The California drought is hitting Catalina Island extremely hard. This summer residents and businesses will be required to cut water usage by 25 percent, beginning in July.

Businesses already have plans in place to cut back on water usage. Instead of using a dishwasher, the folks at Steve's Steakhouse will be using the old method of hand-washing plates, silverware and pots and pans

"We are actually making people ask for water right now," said owner Steve Bray. "And then when Stage 2 hits, I'm actually thinking about importing or getting the bottled water over here. I don't know if I'm going to give it for free or maybe give it at cost at 25 cents a bottle of water."

Some hotels will be cutting water usage by not doing as many loads of laundry.

"We are asking our guests if they'd like to reuse their towel, for instance, to hang it on the bar or the shower door. And if they would like it washed to leave it on the floor," said Kelly Rowley, Hotel Vista Del Mar. "That in itself saves a lot of water."

When you visit you'll notice reminders at restaurants and shops reminding you to conserve water.

There is a desalination plant on the island run by Southern California Edison. It produces 200,000 gallons of drinking water daily, or about 20 percent of Catalina's daily supply during the summer. But the island's wells are running low.

Island officials are saying the cutbacks on water usage are for this season only. They're banking on the El Nino that's forecast for the upcoming rainy season.

"If we drop our consumption by 25 percent we will get through to this rainy season, in which an El Nino year is expected, and replenish our aquifers," said Ron Hite, SoCal Edison.

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