Local News
A Conversation About Water Conservation
By Beth Livesay
Jul 22, 2007 - 10:22:00 PM

BEVERLY HILLS—We all use water; therefore, we are all responsible for both water shortages and water conservation. Every time someone brushes their teeth, they use 3 gallons of water daily, every shower demands 40 gallons for every ten minutes, and every trip to the restroom averages out to 28 gallons a day. We can’t eliminate personal hygiene from our daily routines, but the amount of water we use daily can be reduced. In a city such as Beverly Hills, whose name is synonymous with excess and luxury, residents will have to begin being stingy with their water.  

With population rapidly increasing in Southern California, water demands could very soon get out of hand. Metropolitan Water Districts of Southern California report that the average single Southern Californian family uses 450 gallons of water daily, the average condominium or apartment uses 260 gallons a day, and an individual uses 140 gallons of water each day at home.

One solution concocted by the M.W.D. and the City of Beverly Hills is the offering of rebates to residents who buy water-efficient fixtures. For example, residents who replace a high flush-volume, pre-1992 toilets with new, 1.6 gallon per flush toilets earn a $60 rebate. Other rebates are available as well, including rebates for installing weather based irrigation controllers ($80 up to 12 stations, $6.50 for each additional station). In order to receive rebates, residents are asked to complete an application and show a copy of the sales receipt.

The City’s website (beverlyhills.org) also offers more tips for conserving water. Creative conservation methods such as: taking baths opposed to showers (saves 15-20 gallons), washing dishes by hand (saves 200-500 gallons a month), cleaning vegetables in a bowl as opposed to under the faucet (saves 150-250 gallons a month), not using the garbage disposal (saves 50-150 gallons a month) and turning your water glass upside down in a restaurant (saves millions of gallons collectively) are all posted on the website in order to more efficiently make use of the water in our community.

More interestingly, is the list compiled on the city’s website describing the ten ways to save the most water, among them are: watering the lawn less, fixing leaky faucets and using brooms instead of hoses for yard and driveway cleaning. Many of these tips could save residents about 1,000 gallons a month, which is not only good for the city, but good for your water bill as well.

The issue of conservation is currently a voluntary one, but Public Works Director David Gustavson warns that in the previous fiscal year we have experienced the “driest year on record.”  His research done through the National Weather Service and his findings presented at the Informal City Council Meeting on July 10 were staggering: Los Angeles only received 2.5 inches of rain this year, one sixth of what it normally receives. Although we are not officially in the midst of a drought, City Council Members encouraged Beverly Hills residents to conserve as much water as they can so that drastic measures need not be taken in the coming weeks of summer.

Gustavson encourages members of the community by saying conservation, “Won’t require a capital investment.” He suggested a rotating water disconnect schedule for parks lacking wildlife.

The Council as a whole discussed ideas with Gustavson about water preservation as well. Council member Linda Briskman alluded to a conservation battle of the sexes, by suggesting that men turn off the faucet when they shave at the sink. Vice Mayor Berry Brucker advised that water education begin in schools, offering a rewards program for students who conserve the most.  Mayor Jimmy Delshad himself got involved in the brainstorming, adding that smart water meters will be installed at Beverly Hills homes and that the amount of gallons used per month be shown on water bills.

Considering 1 in 6 people in the world do not have adequate water, Gustavson and the Beverly Hills City Council reinforced how precious and necessary a resource water truly is.

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