A Department of Water and Power official Tuesday warned Angelenos that their water use is on the rise at a time when the utility is being forced to charge ratepayers more for water because of the recent dry winter.
The reduced Eastern Sierra snowpack this year is requiring LADWP to purchase more expensive water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which recently approved 5 percent rate increases for the next two years, according to the municipal utility. The LADWP passes those costs on to ratepayers.
LADWP customers successfully reduced water consumption by 20 percent between 2009 and last summer, when water use started creeping up. Water consumption was up 3 percent from last July through March, compared to the comparable prior-year period, according to the utility.
Single-family residential customers accounted for the bulk of the increase, using 5 percent more water during that period. Water use at apartment buildings was up about 1 percent.
"In 2011, our customers reached a per capita water usage of 123 gallons daily, the lowest in Los Angeles in more than 40 years and currently the lowest among any U.S. city with a population over one million," said James McDaniel, senior assistant general manager of the LADWP Water System.
"Still, even with this remarkable achievement, recently we've noticed water use on the rise, and with temperatures climbing and summer coming, we're asking our customers to once again take a look at their water use and see how they can use less," he said.
The 2009 Mandatory Water Conservation program, which remains in effect, restricts sprinkler use to three days per week before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. for a maximum of 8 minutes. The restriction also prohibits customers from watering driveways and sidewalks.
DWP officials urged customers to check sprinkler timers, fix indoor leaky faucets and toilets and use a shut-off nozzle for watering gardens or car washes.