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Glendale utility: No mandatory water conservation plans

Glendale Water & Power seeks to increase water-saving education.

January 21, 2014|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Glendale Water & Power officials don’t expect to implement mandatory conservation in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement last week that the state is suffering from a drought and called for residents to reduce their water use by 20%.

Instead, the utility plans to increase conservation education and encourage customers to follow the governor’s request for Californians to voluntarily abate water usage.

While Glendale Water & Power General Manager Steve Zurn described the situation as “very serious,” he said Glendale did not need to implement mandatory conservation due to ample water storage provided by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where Glendale gets 70% of its water.

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“Californians have done a pretty good job of conserving water. That combined with storage upgrades [at Metropolitan Water District] puts us in a little more comfortable situation,” Zurn said, adding that officials are not in “panic mode.”

The last time Glendale Water & Power implemented a mandatory conservation measure was in August 2009 when the City Council limited irrigation to three days a week. The mandatory conservation measures worked so well that they negatively impacted the utility’s revenues.

But that was mostly prompted by overarching conservation required by the Metropolitan Water District. Any mandatory conservation in the future would likely be driven by the water supplier.

“If they propose restrictions on us, then we do it on our customers,” Atineh Haroutunian, public information officer at Glendale Water & Power, said, noting that another dry year or two could bring about mandatory conservation.

Although the Metropolitan Water District isn’t pushing for that just yet, its general manager, Jeffrey Kightlinger, said in a statement that the agency supports Brown’s call to action, which he described as the first among many future measures to deal with the state’s limited water supply.

“Lowering water demand in Southern California is a big reason why this region has sufficient supplies short term, but this drought is a wake-up call to re-examine all of our water uses and redouble the commitment to conserve every possible drop,” Kightlinger said.

Haroutunian said customers can save water by making slight changes, such as:

— Turning the faucet off when brushing teeth

— Limit outdoor watering to three days a week

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