SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica indicated in a press release, due to long-term effects of drought, that it will maintain its current drought restrictions including water use allowances and penalties for exceeding allowances despite the winter storms passing through California after 5 years of record low rainfall.

The city has been consistently meeting its local water conservation goals of 20 percent below 2013 usage levels. City officials urge the residents to continue their conservation efforts to meet long-term resiliency and water self-sufficiency.

Over the last two years, residents cut their water use and all water needs for 82 days were met by local groundwater supplies.

“Santa Monicans and our local businesses are doing an amazing job making water conservation a part of everyday life,” said Susan Cline, Public Works Director.

Despite all their efforts, the percent of customers using water less than their water allowance each month fell from 80 percent in February 2016 to 74 percent currently. More than 600 residents have been penalized and the majority opted for in-person water consultation and had their fee waived. The city has given out more than 15,000 water-saving products and rebates since the drought response started in 2015.

City officials in their efforts to help all customers reduce their water use by 20 percent, will closely monitor groundwater supplies and the effects of rains to determine appropriate drought response actions. They recommend three easy and practical water saving measures, rebates, and programs such as checking and changing the irrigation timer and turning-off during rainy weather, fixing leaks as soon as possible, removing lawn and replace with climate-appropriate plants and drip irrigation.

Residents often set the irrigation timer incorrectly. It is set to default and the sprinklers run every day for 10 minutes each station, which uses 2 gallons per minute and a home with 15 sprinklers will use 300 gallons each day.

Other reasons for water safety measures include residents neglecting toilet leaks which wastes 2 gallons or more each minute. The city of Santa Monica encourages the use of toilet manufacturers replacement parts when they require a new flapper. The officials also recommended residents should go ahead and ditch their lawn. They point out that half the water use each month go towards maintaining lawns and plants which require high water supply. They suggest using plants which are accustomed to the Santa Monica climate. If funds are available, the rebates for ditching lawn comes up to $8000 which is affordable by most.

Property owners are encouraged to contribute to Los Angeles County’s water management and plan by using non-potable water both outdoors and indoors through guidelines issued in 2016.