Water is our most basic need, but did you know that only about half of the water that comes out of your tap originated in Long Beach? Approximately half of our potable water supplies come from existing Long Beach groundwater supplies. The other half is purchased from the Metropolitan Water District, which gets its water from the Colorado River and Northern California's Bay Delta region. Recent shortages and the prediction of more in the future have demonstrated the unreliability of our most precious resource. As water supplies dwindle, cities and citizens must continually find ways to be more efficient water consumers. The Long Beach Water Department (LBWD), has taken several steps to promote conservation and make certain that its citizens will have clean drinking water well into the future.

Among the steps the City of Long Beach has taken includes the implementation of the Extraordinary Water Conservation plan. This award-winning plan includes elements of consumer education, distribution of water saving devices, consumer rebates, and the adoption of water prohibitions. Since September 2007 the program has enabled the city to reduce its water use, by 8% from the 10-year-average. The 8% savings equals 1.8 billion gallons saved annually!

The average person in Long Beach uses 114 gallons of drinking, or potable, water per day, according to Long Beach Water Department data. This water is mostly used not for drinking, but outdoors for landscaping, washing cars, and other activities.

As our population continues to grow, finding new and inventive ways to expand our water supply in addition to conservation is important to ensuring long-term water supply reliability. The City uses recycled water extensively for industrial purposes and to irrigate city parks, golf course, cemeteries and athletic fields, replacing millions of gallons of imported potable water that would otherwise be used. The City has also introduced a comprehensive expansion to its water-recycling program. The expansion involves the construction of 16 miles of pipeline, new pump stations, upgrades to water system storage, and the completion of new service connections. Once complete, the project will more than double recycled water use in Long Beach and eventually will meet 12 percent of the city's total water demand.

Long Beach has also invented its own, patented seawater desalination process, known as the Long Beach Method. This process is 20-30% more energy efficient than traditional desalination processes, making the process less expensive and more environmentally friendly. Although seawater desalination will not immediately alleviate our water shortage, the Long Beach Water Department is continuing to research and improve the technology as part of the long-term water supply.

The city has set a residential target use of 100 gallons per day, which would set the standard for water conservation in Southern California. We can all help meet this goal by making small changes like turning off the faucet while we brush our teeth, and by making larger changes like installing water efficient appliances. Together, we can not only guarantees water for today's citizens, but also for generations to come. Thank you for conserving water-our most precious resource!