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The Los Angeles Times examined efforts to conserve water in Long Beach, which instituted mandatory reductions in consumption. While San Diego’s push to save water has not been met with success, the Long Beach effort has, the Times says.

Conservation has succeeded in Long Beach on a small budget. The Times reports:

September water use set a 10-year record low, dropping 8% from the same month last year. It fell 5% in October and 6% in November, another record.

The department designed the campaign in-house with a $70,000 budget and a two-person communications staff.

By contrast, the San Diego County Water Authority and the city of San Diego have relied on voluntary calls for conservation, led by the authority’s “20-Gallon Challenge.”

The local results have been “disappointing,” the Times says. The authority is now preparing a $206,000 outreach program, which will include $50,000 to develop an advertising campaign. Once developed, the authority will have to finance the implementation of the campaign, at a price that is not yet determined.

In Long Beach, the education campaign has run with an edgy feel, the Times says.

The campaign has no pricey television commercials. Conservation spots run on 14 cable channels, and residents can choose to receive “e-watering updates” via e-mail. Free courses teach gardeners how to conserve. Car dealerships show water alerts on lighted signs along the San Diego Freeway.

ROB DAVIS

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