Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this photo taken, Monday, July 21, 2014, Groundskeeper Tab Ichiho, of the Department of General Services, inspects a low flow sprinkler at the Capitol, Monday, July 21, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. In ways big and small, the state government is conserving water to try to meet Gov. Brown's request that everyone, from residents to businesses to state agencies reduce their use by 20 percent.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
California trying to cut water, but is it working?
First Published Jul 26 2014 11:39 am • Last Updated Jul 26 2014 11:39 am

Los Angeles • When Gov. Jerry Brown called on everyone from residents to businesses in California to curb water usage by 20 percent, he told state government to lead by example.

Six months after his emergency declaration, many agencies and departments can’t say whether their efforts to conserve water are sufficient because few have been comparing how much water they are using this year to last.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Here are five things to know about how state agencies are faring as they try to use less water:

CUTS NOT MANDATORY, BUT HAPPENING

Brown’s emergency declaration in January didn’t make conservation mandatory and there’s no penalty if state agencies fail to comply. Still, it’s clear that agencies are trying.

One easy way to conserve is to limit — or eliminate — landscape irrigation. Agencies with large campuses, such as the Department of State Hospitals, said such cuts were an important source of savings.

Another obvious source of waste is leaky pipes and faucets. The California State Prison in Sacramento, which loses about 50,000 gallons of water per day due to leaks, is replacing underground pipes. Several other prisons are doing the same.

DATA DILEMMA

Tracking water usage across dozens of agencies and departments in a California government that is larger than that of many countries can be a complex task. Each agency has dozens, hundreds or even thousands of separate accounts for the utilities that serve their buildings. Some are billed monthly, some every two months, some every quarter. Further complicating comparisons, water is measured in various units: gallons, cubic feet and acre feet.

SCANT ACCOUNTING


story continues below
story continues below

Of the 11 high-use agencies that The Associated Press requested water data from, only four were able to provide gallons used for the first half of 2013 and the first half of 2014 for all the facilities they manage. Agencies are not required to track this year’s usage until early 2015, so it falls on each agency’s own initiative to gauge their conservation efforts in real time.

ANSWER IMPOSSIBLE?

Exactly how much water state agencies are using may never be known for sure. That’s because the state gets meter readings for buildings it owns — not always for leased or rented sites. The Employment Development Department, for example, provided the AP data for 26 sites it owns, but did not have water usage data on the dozens of other sites where it administers unemployment insurance, collects payroll taxes or compiles labor market statistics.

FEWER EASY CUTS

Even before the current drought, state government had instituted water conservation measures. Because some waste already had been eliminated, finding more savings may be tougher.

———

Contact Matt Hamilton at https://twitter.com/matthjourno.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.