Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement on the State Water Resources Control Board adoption today of emergency conservation regulations in response to the drought, including a ban on using potable water to irrigate nonfunctional turf in commercial, industrial and institutional sectors:
“Using our precious water resources to irrigate thirsty grass that serves no function is wasteful, particularly during this severe drought. We appreciate the State Water Board’s leadership today to eliminate this practice in the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors. Our priority must be to preserve and stretch our limited supplies to ensure we have enough water to meet human health and safety needs.
“As our climate changes and we face a future of increasingly stressed water supplies, we must all take steps to become as water efficient as possible in our homes and businesses. While the state board’s action is an immediate response to the drought crisis, we must also consider the long-term cost of retaining non-functional turf. For more than 30 years, Metropolitan has been working to reduce and eliminate non-functional turf through our turf replacement program. Replacing thirsty grass with water-efficient California Friendly® and native plants not only saves water, it maintains the cooling properties of grass and provides critical habitat for birds, butterflies and bees.
“These investments have helped change the landscape of Southern California, providing rebates that have encouraged residents and business owners to remove more than 200 million square feet of grass, saving enough water to serve 62,000 homes annually. Now, we must build on this progress and do even more.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provides water for 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.