Water Conservation Must Continue
Last summer was tough. The Burbank community endured a lot — with a heat dome hitting Southern California during the middle of a temporary No Outdoor Watering restriction while the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) worked to repair a critical water pipeline that brings water from the Colorado River into the LA basin.
One of the state’s largest water reservoirs, Lake Oroville, is less than 33% full.
The Burbank community really stepped up during the challenges last summer, helping our city get through the heat by conserving both electricity and water when we needed to most. Thank you to every resident and business that contributed to helping us keep the lights on and water flowing to our city and neighboring communities.
The hot days are behind us, but the drought continues. It will take several years of above-average precipitation to bring our reservoirs back to pre-drought levels.
As we close out 2022 and look forward to 2023, we need to continue to use water sustainably.
Burbank is 100% dependent on imported water from California’s State Water Project and the Colorado River. That is unlike some communities, which rely exclusively on the State Water Project for their water. This year, Burbank is not receiving water from the State Water Project because of the drought. Our only source of water right now is the Colorado River.
California’s water year 2021–2022 was exceptionally dry, as these figures from the State of California show we are well below the historical average.
of our water goes into our lawns.
We recently spoke with two customers to learn more about how they’ve been reducing water use at their homes.
JANIS USES GREYWATER TO FLUSH HER TOILETS
An 11-year resident of Burbank, Janis Cohen-Milch knows a thing or two about using water wisely in an arid climate.
Janis said she noticed that several of her neighbors maintained very lush green turf lawns during the drought. When she spoke to one neighbor about changing the timing of their lawn irrigation to early morning, he responded positively.
“I have found people are pretty good about things like changing their sprinkler times if you discuss it with them,” she said. “Most people don’t know that if you water your lawn during the middle of the day, between the wind and the evaporation most of that water is wasted.”
She said it only took a few minutes to reset her lawn sprinklers to run in the early-morning hours, around 4:30 a.m. She also uses a timer to water her three fruit trees.
Inside her home, Janis says she takes three-minute showers and “religiously” puts greywater to use.
“When I do the dishes, I collect water in the sink in five-gallon tubs, and use that to flush my toilets,” she said. “I started doing that back in the 1990s, before I got to Burbank. Now it’s a habit.”
ROY RELIES ON LOW-TECH TO CUT WATER USE
Roy Wiegand lives near the airport. A 34-year customer of BWP, the freelance musician and music teacher described himself as a “water conservation enthusiast.”
“I have a low-tech approach to using water wisely,” he said. Roy uses five 5-gallon buckets to capture water discharged from his washing machine. He sprinkles the greywater on drought-tolerant plants and trees in his yard.
He also washes dishes by hand and reuses that greywater too.
Roy uses mulch to help his landscape retain water.
Years ago, he replaced the grass on the parkway between the sidewalk and the street with wood mulch.
“I’m trying to implement a personal circular economy using caveman technology,” he said with a laugh. “If I can do it, anyone can.” Roy said he may investigate installing a rain barrel or cistern on his property. Rebates are available for both starting at $35 per barrel or $250 per cistern from SoCalWaterSmart.com.
Emergency Regulation Adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board in June 2022
In June 2022, The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted an emergency regulation to better manage natural and human-induced climate risks to California’s water system. This regulation prohibits watering decorative grass in commercial, industrial, and institutional areas, including common areas of homeowners’ associations (HOAs).
WHO THE SWRCB EMERGENCY REGULATION INCLUDES/EXCLUDES
- Residential customers
- Parks, sports fields, and other turf used for recreational purposes
- Landscapes irrigated with recycled water
- Private multifamily unit lawns
- Commercial, industrial, and institutional areas (CII), including common areas of HOAs
- Learn more about this regulation at bit.ly/swrcb-regulation.
FUTURE-PROOFING OUR WATER SUPPLY
After suffering through years of historic drought, it's apparent that there’s no single silver-bullet solution that can solve our state’s water challenges.
But long-term water security can be achieved through a coordinated set of supply-side and demand-side initiatives.
On the supply side, after decades of not building any new reservoirs, the state and federal governments are rethinking the wisdom of that approach. While its unlikely we’ll ever see giant dams constructed the way they were a century ago, it’s possible that smaller reservoirs can be constructed.
This year Governor Gavin Newsom endorsed a variety of supply-side measures, including building more dams and water desalination projects, to increase the amount of water that can be stored in above-ground reservoirs.
But that won’t happen overnight, and there are plenty of uncertainties along the way. Various regulatory agencies must approve the construction of those projects. It will not be cheap to build whatever structures are approved.
That’s why we have emphasized controlling what we can control. By better managing demand for and use of water, citizens and businesses play a vital role in securing our shared water future.
How to Contact Us
Customer Service: (818) 238-3700
Water Services: (818) 238-3500
Electric Services: (818) 238-3575
Conservation Services: (818) 238-3730
Street Light Outages: (818) 238-3700
After-Hours Emergency: (818) 238-3778
ONEBurbank: (818) 238-3113
JEANNINE EDWARDS email@example.com
RUZAN SOLOYAN firstname.lastname@example.org
TRACIE NEISWONGER email@example.com
DREW KIDD firstname.lastname@example.org