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Monday, October 19, 2009

Long Beach to Receive $1.3 Million in Federal Funding for Seawater Desalination and Recycled Water Projects

WASHINGTON DC – Yesterday, the United States Senate voted to approve the $33.5 Billion FY 10 Energy & Water Appropriations Conference Report, which funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Interior, including the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy and several independent Agencies. Included in the bill is $670,000 for the Long Beach Seawater Desalination Project and $634,000 for the Long Beach Reclaimed Water Expansion Project. The United States House of Representatives voted to pass the FY 10 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill two weeks ago. The bill will now go to President Obama for a final signature before it becomes Public Law.

“On behalf of my fellow commissioners, I want to say thank you to all of our federal representatives who continue to provide great leadership and support for these critical water supply projects” said Paul Blanco, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. “Their dedicated commitment to improving the reliability of our region’s water supply is what makes these projects possible,” added Blanco.

Earlier this year, more than $3 million in stimulus funds were awarded to the Long Beach Seawater Desalination Project. Once the President signs and approves the FY 10 Energy & Water Appropriations bill, Long Beach will have received a total of $4.3 million in federal funds this year for its two Title XVI water supply projects.

“With these funds, we will now be able to complete the third and final phase of our Seawater Desalination Research and Development Project,” said Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “We will also be able to continue to expand the city’s use of recycled water, which reduces our consumption of potable water, and makes Long Beach less dependent on outside sources of water, which everyone knows are becoming more and more unreliable,” added Wattier. “Add in our tremendous conservation effort and Long Beach is well on its way to becoming self-reliant when it comes to its water supply.”

With the addition of the FY 10 appropriations, the Long Beach Seawater Desalination and Recycled Water projects have now received approximately $11.4 million and $12.4 million, respectively, in federal funding through annual appropriations dating back to the year 2000. The federal funds for these projects have been supplemented by both state and local funding sources as well.

The Long Beach Water Department is an urban southern California water supply agency and the standard in water conservation and environmental stewardship.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rain On Its Way to Long Beach; Sprinklers Should be Turned Off

A three day rainstorm is expected to arrive as early as this afternoon. Water officials call on customers to turn off sprinkler systems for remainder of the week

LONG BEACH, CA – A strong storm system is expected to hit the southern California region today and will likely stay through Thursday. Heavy winds and rain are likely at times, with preliminary reports estimating 1 to 2 inches of rain in coastal areas, and 2 to 4 inches in the foothill and mountain areas, with the potential for even greater rainfall totals in the higher elevations.

Because the storm is expected to bring a significant amount of precipitation, the Long Beach Water Department is asking all residents and businesses to turn off all outdoor irrigation systems for the rest of the week. Residents may sign up to receive an automatic notice reminding them to adjust their sprinkler systems according to changes in weather patterns by visiting, www.lbwater.org, and clicking on E-Watering Update.

“It is important for people to understand that using sprinklers during a rainstorm event is an inefficient use of water that in almost all cases can be easily prevented,” said Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “For this reason, we are calling on all Long Beach Water customers to be responsible users of water by turning off their outdoor watering systems for the next few days while these storms come through, added Wattier.

Long Beach receives half of its water supply by importing it from distant sources, including the Colorado River via the Colorado River Aqueduct and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta via the State Water Project. Both of these sources have become considerably less reliable in recent years. In addition, critical state reservoirs have dropped to dangerously low levels. As of yesterday, Lake Oroville and San Luis Reservoir were at 37 percent and 19 percent of capacity, respectively.

Today, Governor Schwarzenegger called a special session of the legislature to address California’s water crisis.

“Over the past few days we have made enough progress in our negotiations that I am calling a special session on water. While we still have a few remaining issues to work out, I commend the legislative leaders for their focus and commitment to solving this crisis and I will weigh all the bills on their merits,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Last week, Mayor Bob Foster issued a statement imploring the state legislature to come to an agreement on a water package that could help solve the state’s water woes.

“The state of California’s water supply is critical, and now is the time for decisive action,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “I urge the State Legislature and the Governor to quickly negotiate a water reform package that can help put California back on the right path towards sustainable water management”.

The Long Beach Water Department is an urban, southern California retail water supply agency and the standard in water conservation and environmental stewardship.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Long Beach Finishes Year with Record Low Main Breaks

Long Beach Finishes Fiscal Year with Record Low Number of Main Breaks

26 main breaks occurred in Long Beach during the past 12 months, the lowest annual total ever for the City; coincides with record high levels of water conservation

LONG BEACH, CA – Today, the Long Beach Water Department reported that during Fiscal Year 2009, the City of Long Beach experienced the lowest number of water main breaks ever in its history. The news comes on the heels of a Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners announcement made last week that reported the lowest annual citywide water demand since 1965. Long Beach water consumption was 17 percent below the city’s historical 10-year average during FY ’09.

Paul Blanco, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners, expressed satisfaction upon learning of the news that a new record low for water main breaks had been set. “This is truly wonderful news for the City of Long Beach,” stated Blanco. “It really demonstrates that a proactive, sustained commitment to replacing and upgrading critical water and sewer infrastructure throughout our city can make all the difference in the world,” added Blanco.

The Long Beach Water Department has invested nearly $90 million since FY ‘98 to upgrade the city’s older, less reliable cast-iron water infrastructure, which is more susceptible to frequent, costlier breaks. The Water Department has replaced as much as 107,000 linear feet per year of the older cast iron pipeline, installing a newer, more reliable ductile iron pipe in its place.

Throughout the 1990s, it was common to have well over 100 main breaks each year in Long Beach. The success of the main replacement program has caused these numbers to drop dramatically. Some relevant facts and figures:

• The average number of annual main breaks in Long Beach between FY 91 and FY 00 was 133

• The average number of annual main breaks in Long Beach between FY 01 and FY 09 was 59

• The total number of main breaks that occurred in FY 09 was only 14% of the total number of main breaks that occurred in FY 91

“For many years now, the Water Department has taken a more proactive approach to our comprehensive infrastructure maintenance program,” said Kevin Wattier, General Manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “Ideally, our goal would be to refresh our system every 20 years. Although that may not always be entirely possible, by keeping this goal in mind, we have been able to make solid progress toward ensuring the infrastructure that we use to deliver water and sewer services to our customers is more dependable and less vulnerable to unexpected failures,” continued Wattier.

“It is also important to note that fewer main breaks result in fewer interruptions to service, which provides for an improved quality of life for all Long Beach residents,” added Wattier.

The Long Beach Water Department is an urban, southern California retail water supply agency and the standard in water conservation and environmental stewardship.