Officials at Burbank Water and Power this week urged customers to be vigilant about saving water in the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought emergency declaration Friday, though the utility does not plan to implement mandatory conservation.

Reducing the sprinkler usage from daily to three times a week is the most effective way to conserve, as more than half the city’s water usage goes toward landscaping, said Bill Mace, the utility’s assistant general manager.

Usually, the utility sees a drop in water use during the rainy winter months. But that wasn’t the case for Burbank last year, which marked the driest year in recorded state history, according to the governor’s office.

“Three days a week will keep your landscape in good shape,” Mace said.

Other ways customers could conserve water include taking shorter showers and washing full loads of laundry, said utility spokesman Joe Flores.

The utility also has a number of water-saving programs.

The Burbank City Council recently signed off on plans to double the rebate for water-saving landscapes. Customers can pocket $2 per square foot to replace the turf in their yards with drought-tolerant plants. That applies not only to frontyards, but also side and backyards.

Additionally, the utility offers the Green Home House Call program, through which officials will install energy and water-saving appliances throughout the home, such as water-saving faucets and shower heads.

The last time there was mandatory conservation in Burbank, which was about four years ago, the city reached a 20% reduction in water usage within two years, Mace said.

And Burbank’s utility has made investments in storage and conservation through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides roughly 80% of the city’s water supply.

“The community’s done a really good job of conserving,” Flores said. “If (customers) follow best practices…we’re going to be able to take the supplies we do have and stretch that over difficult periods, when there’s not a lot of water.”

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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