Drought and water supply shortages have happened in the past. We know dry conditions are common in California.
But the past several years have brought record-breaking conditions like nothing we’ve ever seen before. To combat climate change and water scarcity, local water agencies must go above and beyond to conserve now and plan for the future. Changes in the way we use water are critical to adapting to a drier future.
Long Beach Water has long been a leader in conservation, offering innovative programs and community education, along with robust future planning and infrastructure development.
We recognize that the onus for water conservation is often placed on the consumer. While saving water in homes and businesses does make an impact, it’s only one piece of the pie.
As Long Beach residents and businesses do their part, here are some ways that Long Beach Water is doing ours.
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
Everyone in the Long Beach community has a different water story.
For some, conservation is a natural way of life. Others struggle to find the budget for water-saving projects or appliances. And some just don’t want to think about it. To help all the different water users find their way, Long Beach Water offers a variety of innovative programs, community outreach and education.
For the homeowner, our Lawn-to-Garden Program offers an incentive to convert their thirsty lawns to a beautiful, drought-friendly garden — plus money to pay for a professional landscape designer.
Homeowners struggling to find the money for a garden project can participate in our Direct Install Garden Program. Our team, with the help of the Long Beach Conservation Corps, designs and installs a drought-friendly landscape at no cost to the homeowner.
For those wanting to start small, our Native Plant Parkway Program provides residents with everything they need to convert their parkway, the area between the street and the sidewalk, at no cost.
Apartment dwellers can also find conservation help with our Direct Install Multifamily Efficiency Program, where Long Beach Water purchases and installs efficient appliances in apartments and condominiums at no cost to residents.
Residents and businesses can apply for dozens of rebates on efficient appliances. And a new pilot program helps low-income homeowners do the same, providing a free head-to-toe efficiency upgrade to participants.
Long Beach businesses can get help with a water-wise upgrade through the Certified Blue Restaurant Program. Business owners can also take advantage of the Lawn-to-Garden program to transform any grass areas on their property.
At Long Beach Water, we’re partners with our community, which is why we employ robust outreach and education efforts. Water staff attend dozens of events every year to promote the water-wise lifestyle in all parts of the city, from the Cambodian American Cultural Center to the Long Beach Pride Parade and beyond.
Our mascot, Conservin’ Mervyn, has become a regular celebrity in the community and can be seen promoting water-saving tips, programs and selfies at nearly every event. In-school education programs, career day talks and informational presentations are also a critical part of getting our message out.
With innovative programs and extensive outreach, Long Beach Water is proud to lead the way in community support for water conservation.
And it has paid off — Long Beach residents and businesses have clocked in significant water savings all summer, consistently exceeding statewide conservation numbers.
INVESTING IN LOCAL SUPPLY
Long Beach is fortunate to have a sustainable, affordable and reliable source of water right beneath our feet.
Local underground water basins already provide about 60 percent of the water we serve our customers. That water is pumped via 24 active wells throughout the city to our centralized Groundwater Treatment Plant and then distributed to the community.
Long Beach has rights to pump about 33,000 acre feet of groundwater each year out of the Central Basin. To maximize that allotment, plans are in motion to build 12 new groundwater wells. Six of those are already in construction and the rest are in the design process.
But we’re not stopping there. We are actively studying and planning for new well sites in the southwestern part of Long Beach that could give us pumping access to another groundwater basin, the West Coast Basin. This would increase the amount of water we can get from local sources.
In addition to increasing our potable water supply, Long Beach Water also has plans to enhance our reclaimed water program. Currently, we partner with Los Angeles County Sanitation District to treat thousands of gallons a day of wastewater that is used to irrigate parks and golf courses throughout Long Beach.
To increase our capacity to provide recycled water, we’re adding storage tanks dedicated to reclaimed water. We’re also partnering with other water agencies to contribute resources to the Pure Water Southern California project in Carson, which will increase recycled water available to the region for groundwater replenishment, irrigation and more.
In our future, we see no drop wasted.
BIG PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
Some of the most important work for saving every drop and planning for our future supply goes on behind the scenes.
In 2019, we completed a Water Resources Plan, which provides a guide for how we plan to enhance our water supply system in the coming decades. And it is the foundation for several implementation plans underway. Long Beach Water is developing a Well Asset Management Plan to enhance our access to by-the-minute water production data and provide a strategic roadmap for essential groundwater infrastructure maintenance.
An Optimization Study will soon provide a comprehensive implementation strategy to increase local groundwater production. The study will help guide future well construction and other system improvements. And as we increase our groundwater pumping, we’re also studying how to ensure that the supply doesn’t run dry. Long Beach Water staff are currently conducting a Groundwater Augmentation Study to contribute to a sustainable groundwater future by replenishing the basins.
Finally, two Recycled Water studies will allow Long Beach Water to increase access to reclaimed water for non-potable uses. This, in turn, frees up potable water for community needs.
At Long Beach Water, we’re committed to thinking ahead and exploring all options to continue to provide safe, affordable and delicious drinking water to the community.
Thanks to all of these efforts and our dedicated, waterwise customers, we’re confident in Long Beach’s future.
For more information on Long Beach Water programs and water-wise tips, visit LiveH2OLB.com.
At left, to increase local supply, construction is planned for 12 new groundwater wells. Above, Long Beach groundwater wells are critical source of reliable and affordable water.
Conservin’ Mervyn increases water savings through community outreach.
At left, community support programs encourage conservation. Above, well optimization increases system efficiency and yield. At right, tank project allows for more reclaimed water use.