Angelenos are known for two things: their love for Tinseltown and the fast life; and their insatiable thirst for water. The latter aspect was again shown to be true at a meeting held this week in which it was revealed that water use in Los Angeles remained flat through October, despite Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's call 6 months ago for a voluntary 10% cut. Not surprisingly, city officials and environmental leaders are urging the mayor to impose mandatory restrictions similar to those implemented in Long Beach, that led to substantial savings.
Villaraigosa signaled his tentative support for such a measure - stating that he would act to declare a state of drought if the science supported it. In a perplexing move - given the circumstances - water authorities have said that they plan on waiting several more months to see if supplies improve before adopting "harsher measures" (a euphemism, if ever we saw one).
Anyone who lives in Los Angeles, or Southern California, for that matter, knows just how much water is wasted every day - especially on lawn sprinkling and car washing. City officials should take the initiative and begin an immediate push for stronger conservation measures; voluntary programs just won't cut it anymore.
Long Beach's example shows that - with the right motivation and information - residents can be made to cut back on their use. With L.A.'s 3.8m residents, even slight cutbacks in water consumption would go a long ways towards generating large savings.