West Basin adds water efficiency to reuse & desalination

West Basin Municipal Water District in southern California recently completed a Water Efficiency Master Plan that will double water savings from to 6 billion gallons (22,710 million m³) in 17 coastal Los Angeles cities by the year 2020.

The plan is part of West Basin’s Water Reliability 2020 program, which will create 50% more locally controlled water supplies by the year 2020. The district’s water reliability will be increased by doubling water recycling, doubling water conservation (water efficiency) and by researching the addition of ocean-water desalination to its overall water supply portfolio.

The plan provides strategies and programs to help local water retailers make their communities more sustainable and water efficient.

West Basin is one of the first agencies in the United States to adopt an integrated approach to water efficiency planning. The district led the combined effort working closely with eight local cities and water retailers to create common goals and strategies.

The California Water Act of 2009 requires individual retail water suppliers to set water conservation targets for 2015 and 2020 to support an overall goal of reducing urban potable per capita water use by 20% by 2020.

“Water efficiency is the responsibility of every water retailer, city and resident,” said West Basin president Donald L Dear. “We are moving from conservation in times of drought to efficiency all the time – we all need to be water wise and West Basin is providing the tools to help residents be even more efficient.”

New to the agency’s plan this year is a focus on the water-energy nexus to integrate both water and energy efficiency programs and demonstrate both direct water and energy savings associated with the transport, treatment and delivery of water to end-users.

Water efficiency programs incorporated into the plan include: High Efficiency Toilet Exchanges; Ocean Friendly Landscape Classes; Cash for Kitchens; Commercial Restroom Retrofit; Recirc and Save; Southern California Edison Commercial Audit Pilot (which includes combined water and energy audits); Small Business Direct Install and Landscape Surveys.

Funding for the plan was provided by the US Bureau of Reclamation and West Basin’s water agencies including the cities of Lomita, Inglewood, Manhattan Beach and El Segundo, and California Water Service Company, Golden State Water Company, California American Water Company and Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29. The plan was also supported by the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the California Urban Water Conservation Council.

“Not just designed to meet the requirements of California state law, West Basin’s plan goes much further to outline the best sustainable and cost-effective solutions for the region’s residents,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. “It is a planning model for not just Southern California, but for the nation as a whole.”

The complete plan and more detailed information about its initiatives are available on West Basin’s website.