Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Vice Chair Cynthia Kurtz told a City committee Tuesday she predicted the implementation of more mandatory water reductions by next year as the region faces the challenges of climate change and extended drought.
Kurtz knows Pasadena’s water situation well. She served as Pasadena City Manager twice, most recently stepping down as Interim City Manager in August.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the first three months of 2022 have seen record dry weather, and pushed nearly 94% of California into severe drought conditions.
“I think we will in 2023 see some more mandatory reductions until we get through this drought,” Kurtz told Pasadena’s Municipal Services Committee . “We have to be looking long term because there’s going to be another drought. It will rain again and then there will be another drought. We have to better prepare for each one because each one seems to be hitting us with a little more severity than the one before us.”
Kurtz made the statement even after reporting that the average per person water use in Southern California is down 40 percent over the last 30 years in part due to the $864 million MWD has invested in conservation programs since 1990, saving 3.5 million acre-foot of water.
“Per capita use is down. It will allow us to grow and not need additional water in the region but we have to do better than that,” said Kurtz.
Kurtz explained that while there is a reduction in water use per capita, Southern California is still using a lot of water outside.
“We’ve done a really good job inside with water savings in showers, in toilets and sinks and washing machines [but] we’re still using a lot of water outside. 70 percent of our water use in Southern California is still outside our homes and that is too much.”
“We have to cut down on that if we’re going to continue to build new houses and have our people stay here and live here,” said Kurtz.
Since August of 2021, Pasadena has been implementing conservation actions under Level 2 Water Supply Shortage Plan to establish a voluntary water reduction target of 15%, which aligns with the state’s reduction goal
The plan restricts outdoor watering to two days per week from April to October and one day per week from November to March.
Prior to the implementation of the water schedule, Pasadena residents may water three days a week: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Last June, the city implemented additional emergency drought measures in compliance with the State Water Resource Control Board. The regulation, which applies only to commercial, industrial and institutional properties, prohibits irrigating “non-functional turf” or turf that is not used for any recreational purpose, such as grass in front of or next to large industrial or commercial buildings.
For more information about the city’s efforts to save water and additional water saving tips, visit PWPweb.com/SaveWater.