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LADWP sees no need for state-mandated water conservation

The Reflecting Pool surrounds Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles. The agency says it has enough water to meet demand despite three more years of drought, and no longer needs to continue state-mandated water conservation. Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

Los Angeles has enough water to make it through three more years of drought without continuing state-mandated water cuts.

That's the finding of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's "stress test," which was due to the State Water Resources Control Board this week.

Under a complex calculation handed down by state water officials, local agencies have to project future water supplies given the assumption that California won't receive any more rain and snow in the next three years than it did over the previous three.

Water agencies then have to contrast those supplies against anticipated demand. If demand outweighs supply, the agencies will have to start saving water immediately to make up the difference. The amount of the shortfall will be the new water conservation standard agencies will have to report to state officials.  

DWP claims that in 2017, its water supply will match its demand and therefore, it no longer needs to continue with its state-mandated conservation target of 14 percent. Instead, its state requirement will be zero.

To figure this out, DWP predicted that its customers would continue to limit their water use to 104 gallons per capita per day -- a target set by Mayor Eric Garcetti's Sustainable City Plan. That's down from 131 GPCD in 2014, the year the mayor announced the plan.

Next the agency calculated supply. In 2017, the city's water will come from a combination of local and imported sources, including groundwater, recycled water, the Los Angeles Aqueduct and water purchased from the Metropolitan Water District, which has promised DWP enough water. DWP says those supplies are sufficient.

“We are not surprised by the positive outcome,” said DWP’s Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System Marty Adams. "The zero percent requirement by the State goes hand-in-hand with the City's reduced water demands and future water supply plans.”

DWP is one of a number of area water agencies like Long Beach and the Coachella Valley Water District that "zeroed out" on their stress, saying they have enough supply to get through three more dry years.