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LA conserving water at record levels. Not enough as drought worsens…

Seriina Covarrubias with her dogs, Sage and Dusty, at her home in Altadena. Covarrubias replaced her lawn with California natives and drought-tolerant plants. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)During a summer of soaring heat, shrinking supplies and mandatory drought restrictions, Los Angeles residents conserved water at an impressive pace in August, with that month’s usage dropping below a record low set during the previous drought.But it’s becoming clear that this alone is not going to be enough. The crisis on the Colorado River, a key source of water for Southern California, is expected to bring painful cuts to supplies in the coming months. And hopes of a wet winter are looking more unlikely with another year of dry La Niña in the forecast.Now, the pressure is on to not only increase savings, but also double-down on efforts to reduce reliance on imported supplies and to invest in long-term water solutions.“We have to stop thinking of this as responding to this drought and acknowledge that these droughts are becoming more frequent and severe,” said Heather Cooley, director of research at the Pacific Institute. “Action that we take now — and continue to take even after this drought ends — will be important for the future.“The city’s nearly 4 million residents used about 10% less water in August than the same month the prior year, despite this past August being hotter by an average of 3 to 5 degrees, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported this week. It was the third consecutive month of such records, following a 9% reduction in June and 11% reduction in July.The figures show a strong response to the new rul …

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