The 15 Percent Challenge: Use Water More Wisely

The 15 Percent Challenge: Use Water More Wisely
July 22, 2021

As California’s drought worsens amid scorching heat across the state and challenging water supply conditions in Northern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on all Californians to reduce water use by 15 percent.

This call is voluntary, meaning no mandatory reductions coming from Metropolitan or your local water agency. But take the 15 percent challenge personally, and very seriously.

Southern California is fortunate to have sufficient water in storage to make it through this year without “rationing.” When mandatory conservation happens, Metropolitan does not cut off water to any of our 26 member agencies that don’t make the savings target. We send price signals (as in much higher water costs if the target is exceeded) to incentivize the needed savings. This has always worked. People do the right thing, voluntarily, when there is a call to conserve.

A major reason that Metropolitan has sufficient water in reserve this year is because Southern Californians have maintained lower water use since the last drought. We’re in this fortunate position because of you, and what you have been doing voluntarily in recent years.

For decades, when Southern California has needed to stretch the available water supply, we have managed to do so. We have grown by about 5 million people in the last generation while using the same amount of water. We are using about 120 gallons of potable water per person per day, on average, across Metropolitan’s service area. Reducing that by 15 percent means finding about 18 gallons of savings.

For ideas, visit our web site, www.bewaterwise.com, that has tips and various rebates to remove turf and purchase water-saving devices. There are things you can do to save water both indoors and outdoors. The greatest savings are likely outdoors, either by transforming a landscape into something fitting our climate or reducing your watering to what is truly needed.

Just because Metropolitan has water in reserve doesn’t mean we should deplete it without concern. If you have a savings account, you likely think long and hard when you use some of that money for some need. That is Metropolitan’s mindset when it comes to tapping our water reserves. We shouldn’t use a drop of these reserves for a water use that we don’t truly need.

That is the message the governor is trying to send to all of us. We should receive it loud and clear. Reducing water use, now, will have measurable and meaningful results for our water reserves and preparing for the future. Take the 15 percent challenge. Take your wise use of water to the next level.