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Homeowners do it, farmers do it, now LA Metro is cutting water, too

Red Line at Civic Center station.
Todd Johnson/KPCC
Red Line at Civic Center station.

The agency that's responsible for keeping the trains running in Los Angeles County is trying to make sure they don't keep their taps running too long.

The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted Thursday to institute drought measures to reduce their water use by 20 percent over the next two years.

The effort builds on and accelerates a water action plan from 2010 that directs the agency to change the way it washes buses and train cars and look into switching to recycled water, cut back on grass and other thirsty landscaping at all facilities and reduce irrigation with potable water.

Professor Stephanie Pincetl, who directs the UCLA Center for Sustainable Communities said these small changes can add up.

"Some of that’s pretty invisible. You’ll notice that the bus is clean but you won’t think about how much water is used in washing the bus," she said. "But if all agencies did that probably there would be less water used."

Metro plans to install meters at its various facilities to track where it can find the biggest water savings. 

With California in its fourth year of drought, many municipalities and other agencies are joining the effort to conserve. Last year the city of Los Angeles started switching to less thirsty plants in its parks and is moving to use recycled water in the city’s 13 golf courses.