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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mandatory Water Conservation Hits Los Angeles

Southern California is facing a water supply shortage for the third year in a row. Most of Los Angeles’ water supplies are imported and the sources of this water are greatly impacted by drought and regulatory restrictions. As a result, the City of Los Angeles is calling for drastic water conservation.
Due to this water shortage, on June 1 the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) initiated billing changes to Los Angeles customers. Under these new rate changes, the amount of water DWP rate payers are able to purchase at the lowest price – as indicated on monthly bills as “Tier 1”, will be reduced by 15%. Customers already conserving 15% of their Tier 1 allowance will not be affected. However, customers who exceed their monthly Tier 1 allotment will be charged the more expensive Tier 2 rate for every gallon used over Tier 1. These customers will see their water bills rise.

"Los Angeles, quite famously, has imported most of its water since the advent of the Los Angeles Aqueduct almost 100 years ago. Today, with both a natural drought statewide and a regulatory drought due to restrictions placed on the importation of water from the Delta, our water supplies are significantly reduced. We have no choice but to enact mandatory conservation," said David Nahai, LADWP Chief Executive Officer and General Manager. "We all must do our part to cut back on our use of water - especially outdoors, where water can most easily be saved."

The shortage rates program being imposed by LADWP is not the same as water rationing. Under a water rationing program the LADWP would allot a certain amount of water for each customer. Instead, the LADWP is implementing a shortage year rates program. Each customer is allotted 15% less water at the lowest Tier 1 rate, and if the household does not exceed this fixed amount of water, they will avoid paying a higher rate. This “price signal” is intended to encourage customers to conserve water.

In addition to the shortage year rates program, a sprinkler ordinance also went into effect on June 1, making it illegal to water lawns on any day except Mondays and Thursdays. The City now prohibits watering landscaping between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., which includes water that could flow to the storm drain. Also prohibited is the washing off of sidewalks, driveways and the washing of vehicles with a hose unless it has an automatic shut off device. Restaurants have also been impacted; when dining out, patrons will only be served water if they specifically request a glass. LADWP encourages everyone to work together to conserve water. A LADWP water conservation hotline has been set up to report violators. Call (800) DIAL-DWP (800-342-5397) to report someone wasting our city's most precious natural resource.

“It is our hope that these restrictions and rate increases will help individuals conserve water, which is not an endless resource in Southern California,” says Stormwater Program Manager Shahram Kharaghani. “It is the joint goal of the Stormwater Program and the Department of Water and Power to reduce the amount of water consumers use, and in turn help to reduce stormwater runoff contributed by individual households during our dry summer months.”
For easy household water conservation tips, please visit http://www.bewaterwise.com/.

Click here for the e-newsletter article.


bob d said...

Back in February when rationing was first discussed, I decided to get rid of my front yard and the mow strip in front. I planted the mow strip with drought tolerant plants and layered the front yard with newspapers covered with Mulch material. I am allowed 48 HFC per billing cycle and my last bill showed usage of 12 HFC. I expect to plant my front yard in the fall with natives. Side benefit has been reduced maintenance costs.

Xindig said...

What are they doing to enforce all this?

I STILL see businesses and residences hosing down the sidewalk.

I STILL see sprinklers on in the middle of the day, which is just completely illogical to me why the homeowner can't grasp the concept of evaporation during a heatwave.

Anonymous said...

I to would like to know how this is enforced. Are water meters shut off? What penalties exist for violations?

nobodys said...

Plant site appropriate, locally derived california native plants and get rid of that thirsty, high maintenance lawn for big savings in water bills!
I have a large double lot and with mostly wild and native plants, we use minimal irrigation, and only on the fruit trees, in the hot season.

LA Stormwater Program said...

Thanks for the comments. The Department of Water and Power asks that you call 1-800 DIAL-DWP with any questions, comments, etc. Representatives are available to assist you 24/7.

This week's segment of the Mayor's new "Ask the Mayor" series also features a question about excessive water use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONJ173Y9JU4&feature=channel_page

Anonymous said...

I have been conservative with my water usage all along. My neighbor, on the other hand, waters his driveway and patio twice daily to remove any stray leaves. Now that the City is restricting water usage and imposing penalties, I get punished for not lowering my water usage while my neighbor gets a pat on the back for reducing his driveway and patio waterings down to only once a day. Is that fair?

Anonymous said...

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