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  Handing out "Aquas" In L.A.

March is the month for awards in Los Angeles, and the Bureau of Reclamation handed out one of its own aquatic "Oscars" there recently. Not for movies, but for moving forward with water conservation efforts.

Reclamation selected the Southland's Residential Survey Program Advisory Committee (RESPAC) as one of ten winners in the USBR Water Conservation Awards program for 1997. RESPAC won top honors in the innovation and invention category.


RESPAC created a comprehensive process for supplying valuable water use information to water conservation planners and managers. The group designed a state-of-the-art residential survey program, developed a start-up kit for carrying out single family residential water use surveys, and put together a training process and supporting materials for the field personnel who conduct the surveys.

Robert W. Johnson, Director of Reclamation's Lower Colorado Region, honored the accomplishment with a ceremony held March 10 in Los Angeles. John V. Foley, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, received the award in behalf of RESPAC.

"It is through collaborative efforts such as RESPAC that we will move forward with new and better ways to conserve this precious, finite natural resource. All of us have the responsibility to lead the way in the stewardship of water so that all may benefit," said Johnson.


RESPAC was created to advance the collective wisdom of residential survey program pioneers. Just as the Oscar winners often have many to thank "for making this possible," so too with RESPAC. The Committee is composed of members from diverse organizations, small to large, government and private, including the following:

  • City of San Diego
  • Eastern Municipal Water District
  • Irvine Ranch Water District
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • Metropolitan Water District
  • Municipal Water District of Orange County
  • San Diego County Water Authority
  • Southern California Water Company
  • West Basin Municipal Water District
  • Honeywell DMC Services, Inc.
  • Cal Poly's Irrigation Training and Research Center
  • Rain Bird
  • Hunter Industries
  • American Society of Landscape Architects
  • CTSI Corporation
  • EcoGroup, Inc.
  • Sunset Publishing Corporation
  • University of California Cooperative Extension
  • American Water Works Association

Progress in water conservation depends fundamentally on developing cost-effective methods of data collection that can gain public cooperation. Reclamation honored the RESPAC effort for addressing this need.


Said MWD Chairman John Foley, "Because of the extraordinary collaborative efforts of all involved, water agencies will be well equipped to develop, implement, and manage residential survey programs."

"With two-thirds of Southern California's urban water used for residential needs, and with a relatively fixed supply of water available for a growing population, it is imperative that residential water use be made as efficient as possible," Foley noted.

Now that the RESPAC materials are available, a residential water use survey may soon be appearing in your own neighborhood-- with a five-star rating!