The Metropolitan Water District moved ahead March 14 with a plan to enroll businesses into conserving as much as 2,000 acre-feet of water every year , water that could meet the yearly household needs of 4,000 new families.
At the same time, the water board voted to hold the line against increases in water rates. Rates have remained the same for the fourth year in a row.
Ronald Gastelum, general manager for the MWD, applauded both moves.
“Today’s actions demonstrate Metropolitan’s commitment to the community and to water conservation,” he said. “Not only are we keeping our water rates in check, but this new conservation program will help hold down the cost of doing business here.”
Suzi Brown agreed. As a spokeswoman for CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. chain, she said the regional program gives the chain a chance to benefit both the community and its own bottom line.
The program would engage the private firm of Honeywell DMC Services Inc., based out of Boston, to identify water-wasting fixtures and other wasteful practices at Southern California’s 33,000 restaurants and 12,000 grocery stores. Outside sources would chip in for improvements, said Bob Muir, spokesman for MWD.
This program is the latest in a series demonstrating MWD’s commitment to water conservation. Since 1980, Metropolitan and its member agencies have spent $200 million to conserve about 500,000 acre-feet of water every year, Muir said.
Southern California uses about the same amount of water as it did in 1975, even though the population has grown by more than 5 million in the past quarter century, he said.