Heat Brings Calls to Save Water, Energy

With temperatures hitting 100 degrees or more for consecutive days, water and power agencies in some areas of the state are calling on Californians to reduce energy and water use.

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities announced a Spare the Water Alert through Aug. 14, asking customers to voluntarily cut back on their non-essential water use and comply with rules limiting lawn watering to specific days and times.

Spare the Water Alerts are declared when three consecutive days of 100+ degree temperatures are forecasted. Temperatures in the Sacramento region are expected to reach 100 degrees or more through the weekend.

“When temperatures reach their peak, the demand for water stretches the city's treatment and pumping abilities. While the city doesn’t expect to have supply issues, the extended stretch of high temperatures can push our equipment to its limit. High temperatures are a good reminder of how precious a resource water is and why we need to conserve it,” said Michael Malone, field services manager for the Department of Utilities.

State officials issued a Flex Alert on Aug. 9, calling on Californians to immediately conserve electricity and to shift demand to off-peak hours (after 6 p.m.).

The Flex Alert campaign is an educational and emergency alert program that informs consumers about how and when to conserve electricity by taking steps such as turning off unnecessary lights, computers and appliances, adjusting air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and postponing use of major appliances until after 6 p.m.

According to the Flex Alert website, California is considered to be at critical risk for rolling blackouts and power shortages this summer. While the state has curbed energy demand during peak hours in the past, this summer’s conditions may demand more serious attention than in previous years. Reasons include hot days and the potential for heat storms lasting several days and the recent halt in generation at the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California, which is especially critical for San Diego County residents.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also asked customers to conserve energy use where possible between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Aug. 9. The energy demand reached 5663 megawatts Aug. 8 and was expected to approach record high levels Aug. 9, with highs exceeding 100 degrees for the third straight day in the San Fernando Valley.

LADWP’s all-time energy demand was 6177 megawatts, recorded on September 29, 2010. Energy demand on Aug. 9 was forecasted to approach 6000 megawatts.