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Palm Springs commits to water cutbacks amid California drought

February 21st, 2014 | by Ian James | Comments
Water flows into a percolation pond. (Calderon/The Desert Sun)

Water flows into a percolation pond. (Calderon/The Desert Sun)

The city of Palm Springs has pledged to cut water use at parks, medians and city buildings by 25 percent in response to the state’s extreme drought.

Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet is also calling for the city’s residents to redouble their water conservation efforts on a voluntary basis.

Gov. Jerry Brown has called for Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent. So far, the Coachella Valley’s water agencies haven’t imposed the sorts of mandatory water rationing measures seen in other harder-hit areas of California.

“Like in a lot of cities, I can’t pass an ordinance that says, OK, you can only water on Tuesdays and Fridays. We don’t have that authority. Our water district has that authority,” Pougnet said Wednesday after making opening remarks at the Urban Water Institute conference in Palm Springs.

“Everything’s voluntary right now, but there may come a point where things may not be voluntary,” Pougnet told The Desert Sun. “This is the most serious crisis in the history of the state, and there may come a time that it’s not voluntary. There are things we might have to mandate.”

Such possibilities – as well as other sorts of water-saving ideas – will be discussed on Saturday as the Desert Water Agency holds a workshop to receive input from the public about water conservation.

The workshop from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Palm Springs Convention Center will feature a presentation about water conservation methods as well as discussions of ways to use less water.

DWA, which supplies water to customers in Palm Springs, parts of Cathedral City and other areas, says the public comments received at the workshop will later be used to produce a report that the agency’s board can use in setting policies.

More details about the workshop are available on the DWA website.

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