Fearing future shortages and urging conservation, the Long Beach Water Department announced this week that water use reached record levels in April because of unseasonably high temperatures and scant spring rain.
On April 22, the city-run department distributed 86-million gallons of water, compared to 76-million gallons on the peak day in April last year, a spokesman said. Use for the month was nearly 2.2-billion gallons, about 300-million gallons more than in April, 1986.
Rainfall statewide was only 65% of normal through April and runoff was 45% of normal, said Larry Larson, general manager of the Water Department.
"There is currently an adequate supply of water for our needs in Long Beach," Larson said. "However, if this is the first year of a continuing dry period, we will be faced with significant water shortages next year and beyond."
Long Beach, like most of Southern California, imports most of its water. About 40% of Long Beach's water is pumped from local underground basins, which are recharged in part with imported supplies. The other 60% is imported from Northern California and the Colorado River, Larson said.