Photography & Video GRAPHICS

How does L.A. use its water?

For all the discussion of how the city, parks and golf courses guzzle water, the lion’s share of L.A.’s supply is sucked up by residential customers, according to data from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Residents have consumed more than 57% of DWP water each year since 1969, and leaks such as the one on Sunset Boulevard last summer amounted to only 4% of the water used in L.A. on an average day, officials said. Historic data also show that conservation plans do work — each person was using an average of 189 gallons a day in 1969 for residential and commercial purposes. Today, the average is 131 gallons per person.

1978-'79:
Multi-family
homes began
to use more
water.

1991-'92:
Drought
prompted
conservation.

1977-'78:
Drought
prompted
conservation.

Residential homes

Includes beer makers,
refineries, factories and
other manufacturing

Water lost from pipe
leaks, firefighting,
evaporation, theft and
other unaccounted losses

Water used by city,
Recreation and Park
facilities and L.A.
Unified School District

Commercial
and government
use of water
has remained
relatively
constant.

1970-'71

1980-'81

1990-'91

2000-'01

2010-'11

50 billion

50 billion

50 billion

1969-'70

2013-'14

Governmental

1971-'72 peak: 8%

1988-'89 peak: 5%

1983-'84 peak: 11%

Non-revenue

Industrial

0

50

100

150

200

Fiscal year

50 billion

Total usage

100 billion

1971-'72
peak: 48%

1997-'98 peak: 33%

1976-'77 peak: 24%

Commercial

Multi-family

Single-family

How much water each group used from city's overall total

Governmental

Non-revenue

Industrial

Commercial

191.1

228.3

195.1

(In billions of gallons)

Multi-family residential

Single-family residential

Water usage since 1969 by customer type

(6)

(7.9)

(13)

17,964

24,375

40,157

(32.1)

(54)

(67.5 billion gallons)

98,530

165,654

207,021 acre-feet

Industrial

Commercial

Non-revenue

Multi-family

Governmental

Single-family

(1 af is about 326,000 gallons)

= 1,000 af

Average total:

acre-feet of water or

billion gallons

180.5

553,876

Average water demand between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014

Lorena Elebee / @latimesgraphics

Sources: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, U.S. Census Bureau, Times reporting
Graphics reporting by Rosanna Xia

Any condo or apartment
complex

Businesses such as stores,
restaurants, spas and malls

1980s: L.A. grew
more than half a
million, increasing
the amount of
water consumed.

1990s: Many high-
flow water fixtures,
such as toilets and
shower-heads, were
updated with low-
flow water ones.

2014: Water usage
increased in the
past three years,
but is less than it
was in 1969, even
with 1 million
more people today.

Scaled back
beginning in
2007. Lawn-
watering
was limited.

Mayor Eric
Garcetti has
directed L.A. to
reduce its water
use 20% by
2017.

Single-family
homes used
47% of all water
consumed in
1969-'70, while
multi-family
homes used
only 16%.

By 2014, single-
family homes
were using 38%
of all water
consumed, and
multi-family
homes used
28%.

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