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.

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    nobodys
    July 30th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    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.

  2. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    LA Stormwater Program
    July 30th, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    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

  3. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Anonymous
    July 31st, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    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?

  4. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    pottygirl
    August 12th, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Toilets account for approx. 30% of water used indoors. By installing a Dual Flush toilet you can save between 40% and 70% of drinking water being flushed down the toilet, depending how old the toilet is you are going to replace.
    If you are serious about saving water, want a toilet that really works and is affordable, I highly recommend installing a Dual Flush toilet. Caroma toilets offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. On an average of 5 uses a day (4 liquid/ 1 solid) a Caroma Dual Flush toilet uses an average of 0.96 gallons per flush. The new Sydney Smart uses only 1.28 and 0.8 gpf, that is an average of 0.89 gallons per flush. This is the lowest water consumption of any toilet available in the US. Caroma, an Australian company set the standard by giving the world its first successful two button dual flush system in the nineteen eighties and has since perfected the technology. Also, with a full 3.5″ trapway, these toilets virtually never clog. All of Caroma’s toilets are on the list of WaterSense labeled HET’s (High Efficiency toilets) http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/find_het.htm and also qualify for several toilet rebate programs available in the US. Please visit my blog http://pottygirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/what-you-should-know-about-toilets/
    to learn more or go to http://www.caromausa.com to learn where you can find Caroma toilets locally. Visit http://www.ecotransitions.com/howto.asp to see how we flush potatoes with 0.8 gallons of water, meant for liquids only. Best regards, Andrea Paulinelli

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