California drought: Los Angeles irrigation restrictions approved by city council

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Water conservation measures announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti earlier this month were approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, confirming that outdoor irrigation in the city will be permitted beginning June 1.

The restrictions, approved by a 13-0 vote, are more lenient than the one-day restriction on areas dependent on water from the State Water Project previously ordered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

“It’s actually less stringent than where other neighboring water districts are headed, where they only go one day a week,” Garcetti said on the 10th of Kind Landscaping.

“Angelenos have done more. In the city of Los Angeles, we’ve done more so that we don’t have to face a risk of plants dying or missing one day a week because of all the things we do and have together.”

From week one, outdoor watering will be restricted from the current three to two days per week, with watering allowed at odd-numbered addresses on Mondays and Fridays and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.

Irrigation with sprinklers is limited to eight minutes per station.

Sprinklers with water saving nozzles are limited to 15 minutes per station.

All watering must be done in the evening or early morning with no outdoor watering allowed between 9am and 4pm

“We were given two paths … and we chose path two to go with a budgeted volumetric limit for the City of Los Angeles,” said David Pettijohn, director of water resources for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy. “While most other agencies affected by this have had to limit their outdoor watering to one day, we believe that in the city of LA we can adhere to two days a week watering, and that’s thanks to the tireless efforts of our conservationists here.” to make it a way of life in Los Angeles.”

The city also urged swimming pool residents to use pool covers to reduce the risk of evaporation and urged people to only wash their vehicles at commercial car washes.

The city’s water restrictions will be enforced by the Conservation Response Unit, which DWP director-general and chief engineer Marty Adams said will focus on areas that use the most water. He said the department will reassign staff to ensure coverage across the city and may hire additional staff over the summer.

READ MORE | Further water restrictions are expected this summer

Enforcement will begin with educating those violating the ordinance, but will escalate with fines and speeding tickets if necessary.

Penalties begin with a written warning, then $200 for a second written violation, $400 for a third written violation, and $600 for a fourth written violation.

“In addition, we have the ability to assign flow restrictors to people if they’re unruly and not complying, and then we also have the ultimate option of terminating the service if someone is really just mocking the ordinance,” Pettijohn said.

Adams reiterated to the city council on Wednesday that the department has issued “very few fines in previous droughts,” and said people are usually happy to comply with restrictions.

In the past four years, the department has issued 552 subpoenas, Pettijohn said, only 15 of which resulted in fines.

Meanwhile, many people outside of the city of Los Angeles will be limited to one day per week watering starting June 1, as announced by the MWD April 26.

That restriction applies to district member agencies, which rely heavily on the State Water Project for supplies, but the agency called on all Southern California residents and businesses to reduce water use by 30% to combat drought conditions, “vs everything we’ve experienced before.”

MWD member agencies that fail to enforce the requirement with their customers face fines of up to $2,000 per acre foot of water supplied by MWD that exceeds monthly allotment limits.

READ MORE | The state water board decides to ban irrigation of some green areas as the drought continues

The state Water Resources Control Board voted Tuesday to ban irrigation of non-functional lawns on commercial, industrial and institutional properties.

The ban — which does not include residential lawns or lawns used for recreational or community purposes — will take effect once approved by the Bureau of Administrative Law, which the board said typically takes about 10 days.

Violations would be punished with a fine of up to $500.

In recent months, DWP has urged customers to use their rebates to make the transition to water conservation more cost-effective, including for people replacing their lawns with sustainable and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Residential and commercial customers can get $3 per square foot of lawn for up to 5,000 square feet, and public facilities can get $4 per square foot for up to 200,000 square feet of lawn.

The agency also gives a $6 rebate for rotating sprinkler nozzles.

Residential customers can also get discounts of $500 for purchasing high-efficiency washing machines and $250 for purchasing water-saving toilets.

According to the DWP, the more efficient units can reduce water use by more than 11,000 gallons per year. Eligible toilets use approximately 30% less water than standard models.

DWP business customers can get a $300 rebate for low-flush toilets that used to have a $250 rebate. Aerators for bathroom and kitchen fittings and highly efficient shower heads are available free of charge.

Owners of multi-family, commercial and industrial buildings who install large water containment systems are also eligible for a $2 million incentive, up from $250,000 earlier this year.

The Technical Assistance Program incentive is available for pre-approved cooling towers, circulating systems, recycle microfiltration systems and other upgrades that reduce drinking water use by at least 50,000 gallons over two years.

For more information, see the LADWP website.

Officials have also sought to highlight the need to protect Los Angeles’ trees during drought and restrictions in recent weeks, noting that they offer extensive health and quality of life benefits.

Trees can capture rainwater, improve water quality and reduce flood risk, as well as improve air quality and the impact of heat waves.

“Trees provide so many quality of life and environmental benefits,” Aura Garcia, president of the Board of Public Works, said Tuesday. “But as we go through this period to reduce water use in a variety of ways, we want to share this important information for residents to help care for and preserve trees in their yards while conserving water.”

The Department of Public Works urged people to add mulch to their trees and slowly soak their mature trees once a month, especially between June and September.

People should also keep an eye on the trees, which were used to receiving water three times a week.

People should also avoid pruning and fertilizing their trees during hot, dry months, the department said.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

Copyright © 2022 City News Service, Inc. All rights reserved. California drought: Los Angeles irrigation restrictions approved by city council

Laura Coffey

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