California is in a terrible drought that's been dragging on for years now, and while Southern California has plenty of water for now, it's also the most water-wasting area of the state. Who's doing the worst damage? UCLA's California Center for Sustainable Communities has released a study (via NBC LA) that looked at single family houses in 13 Los Angeles neighborhoods to see which areas are using the most water and, perhaps, why. While they found some commonalities among all the neighborhoods (54 percent of everyone's water is used outdoors, for example), there were some clear frontrunners in the race to suck up all the water.
The neighborhoods in the report were grouped together under the headers Downtown (Florence, Koreatown, Leimert Park, Mid-Wilshire, Silver Lake, and DTLA proper), Coastal (Venice, Pacific Palisades, Playa Vista), and Valley (Reseda, Pacoima, NoHo, and Sherman Oaks). Then the report looked at the water usage over a period of 10 years.
Venice had the lowest water usage of the 13 neighborhoods studied and neighboring Playa Vista was also found to be relatively conservative with its H20. The report concluded that the "densely packed population, smaller households and smaller lot sizes" of these two neighborhoods helped them conserve. It doesn't hurt that Playa Vista makes use of recycled water, either, or that both areas are generally cooler than most of the other neighborhoods surveyed. Downtown, with its few residential green spaces, had fairly low water usage, while the Valley (with warmer temperatures, larger lots, and preponderance of single-family homes) tended to be a bit more liberal with liquid.
Meanwhile, Pacific Palisades, also in the Coastal group with Venice, had the highest water usage; the 'hood also had the highest income of the 13 neighborhoods. Sherman Oaks, the wealthiest neighborhood in the Valley group, came in second on the list of water offenders. But while money seems to make households more wasteful overall, there's also a limit: the study found that regardless of how wealthy an area is, when water prices rise, suddenly everyone's a conservationist. It was suggested from these findings that higher water prices in conjunction with mandatory water restrictions would be the most effective combination for water-saving.
· Which Neighborhoods Are the Biggest Water Guzzlers? [NBC LA]
· SoCal Pissing Off NorCal With Wanton Increases in Water Use [Curbed LA]
· Seven Ways California Could Change in a 72-Year Drought [Curbed LA]