Long Beach, California Trouble in Paradise

Ordinarily, a visit to Long Beach would be considered a trip to paradise. That is not the case this year because California is undergoing significant lack of rainfall which has prompted Long Beach officials to issue a clarion call to the Long Beach public to help save on water consumption. The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners are asking the public to conserve water in three major ways:

Stop landscape over-watering practices, as well as hinder water runoff from occurring. Take showers of a shorter duration. This also means using slow-flow showerheads instead. Have your water meter and system at work and at home examined for possible water leakage that could result in wasted water.

Long Beach, California

The factors that have led the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners to issue such a directive to the public are:

Small amount of rainfall reaching record lows in the southern coastal plain of California.
The prolonged 8-year drought being experienced in the Colorado River Watershed (from which California communities get much of their water supply.)

The alarmingly low level of key water reserves within the Colorado River Watershed.
Precipitation at the Sierra Nevada Watershed which has only reached 70% of normal levels, endangering further the southern California water supply.

Drawing-down of key water reserves within California by a significant degree.
Interruptions of the water supply contributed by the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento Delta area due to environmental issues.

Long Beach, California

Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners President Frank Clarke stressed that it is imperative that Long Beach be able to save significant amounts of water in 2007 so that the area can be prepared for 2008 should winter not result in adequate rainfall.

In connection, the Long Beach Water Department intends to rely less on imported water by 2015, so that Long Beach water conservation programs may be implemented more widely and aggressively, while promoting reclaimed water distribution and consumption. Other steps to be undertaken by the Long Beach Water Department are desalination efforts to tap seawater supplies and introduction of its many groundwater management initiatives.

At present, around 50% of the Long Beach potable (drinking) water supply is derived from Long Beach groundwater wells. There are 26 wells actively producing groundwater for the City for now. In turn, the groundwater actually comes from the rain and melted snow that fall on the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California supplies the rest of the potable water needs of Long Beach, using treated surface water as its source.

It seems that the City of Long Beach has been relatively successful at reaching out the public because per capita water consumption in Long Beach as of 2006 had fallen to 121 gallons per day (from the previous high of almost 138 gallons) for a decrease of 12% from year 2000. But water conservation should continue and even escalate to guarantee the survival of city residents.

So if you are planning to head for Long Beach in the next two years, be prepared to follow their water conservation practices so that you do your part to preserve the existing water supply which is being threatened by the prolonged drought.