L.A. is conserving water at record levels, but it’s not enough as drought worsens.
The city has been experiencing its highest water usage of the past 30 years.
“The drought is taking its toll on our water supply, and our ability to maintain water quality,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It is unacceptable that we still have to ask our residents to conserve water to the point that we are now facing water rationing.”
In addition to rationing water, Garcetti and other city officials are pressing the Los Angeles Water Board to increase its usage levels, but only as a last resort.
A proposal to raise the water rate by $35 million per year through 2023 would bring the city a total of $1.5 billion to fight a drought that has cost the city $38 billion nationwide.
“We’re not going to just raise it. We are going to make it a public health crisis,” Garcetti said. “We have to use water like everyone else. That’s part of the problem. We have to make it a public health crisis.”
Since 2014, Los Angelenos have been asked to cut water usage by 1.45 million gallons of water per day and save 1.5 million more gallons per day for the next year. Los Angeles was last asked to conserve 1.6 million gallons of water per day for the same period.
Since January, L.A. officials have been calling on residents to reduce water use by about 1 million gallons per day to meet the city’s 1.5 million-gallon-per-day goal. During the same time frame, the city was asked to conserve by about 1.5 million gallons per day to meet its last-minute goal.
The Los Angeles Water Board is holding a public hearing on the proposed increases Tuesday. It is scheduled for 5 p.m. The proposal would only raise the water rate by $5 million per year.
The board voted Tuesday to hold a public hearing on the proposals and will make the final decision on whether to increase rates after receiving comments on the proposal.