Local water officials continue to push clients to use water conservation measures, offering an array of rebates to residents who upgrade fixtures and appliances or replace grassy lawns with less thirsty plants.
The Foothill Municipal Water District is offering rebates to homeowners who place barrels under drain spouts to catch rain water for irrigation, install efficient lawn sprinklers and switch to low-flow toilets and washers, as well as to those who get rid of their turf.
Nina Jazmadarian, Foothill's general manager, said the turf rebate has proven popular in La Cañada, with the utility using more than $25,000 in rebate set-asides last year and expecting to do the same this year.
“From the numbers we see, turf replacement is a popular thing,” Jazmadarian said. “Outdoor conservation is making a big difference.”
The rebates are offered by Foothill or through the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District, which provides much of Foothill's water supply.
More efficient use of water has been one factor in driving down water consumption in Foothill's service area, Jazmadarian said. Since 2007-08, overall sales have fallen from roughly 12,000 acre-feet of water each year to about 8,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is the amount of water required to cover an acre of land one foot deep — about 325,851 gallons.
Jazmadarian said the struggling economy, conservation efforts and people's memory of water rationing and shortages in previous dry spells all contribute to the drop in demand.
Despite a dry winter in 2011-12, Jazmadarian said MWD has a healthy supply today that should stave off rationing even if another couple of dry years are ahead.
Meanwhile, Jazmadarian said she has taken the steps at her home that earn rebates and reduce water use, including installing low-flow everything and remaking her garden so it includes drought-tolerant plants such as the ground cover dymondia, or silver carpet.
“If you are in the water business, you've got to do it all,” she said.
For more information on rebates, go to www.fmwd.com.