June 4, 2008
L.A. “Prohibited Uses” Code Gets Commission Approval, Moves to Council, Mayor
LOS ANGELES – In an effort to deal with a reduction in water supplies, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Commissioners today approved revisions to the existing Water Conservation Ordinance to discourage water waste by expanding prohibited uses of water and increasing the penalties for violations. The changes are designed to ensure that water throughout the City is used wisely. If approved by the City Council and signed by the Mayor, the revised ordinance will go into effect immediately.
The ordinance, first instituted in the drought of 1990, allows officials to cite and fine water wasters for activities such as watering during expanded daytime hours, washing down sidewalks and other pavement, automatically serving drinking water at restaurants without the customer’s request, allowing excess water to flow from lawns and other practices.
“Our action today emphasizes the magnitude of not only our water supply situation, but that of the entire state. It underscores the urgent need for residents to conserve water. We must make changes in the way that we use this valued resource in order to ensure water supplies for future generations,” said Nick Patsaouras, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “Los Angeles residents have demonstrated in the past a conservation ethic, and I’m confident that together, we can step up this effort.”
“We are in a new water era in the City of Los Angeles and throughout the West. Our water resources are finite and we must leverage every drop to its greatest use,” said David Nahai, LADWP general manager and chief executive officer. “This updated ordinance will help us enforce prohibited uses so that we have more water for the necessities of life.”
The proposed changes include doubling existing monetary fines for residential customers (meters smaller than two inches) from $50 for a first offense to $100 and quadrupling existing monetary fines from $50 to $200 for a first offense for large customers, including businesses (meters two inches and larger).
“It is important that our customers realize that our water supplies have been cut and we have to make conservation a way of life,” said Jim McDaniel, LADWP chief operating officer for water. “Wasting water cannot be tolerated, and there will be consequences for wasteful practices.”
LADWP will also begin enforcement of the Prohibited Use ordinance through its Drought Buster Team. Over the past year, the Drought Busters patrolled the city to remind customers wasting water of the prohibited uses and provide a tip sheet on simple ways to cut waste. Under the proposed changes the Drought Busters will begin issuing citations to offending property owners or occupant. First time offenders will get a warning, but repeat offenders will be fined on a sliding scale depending upon the rate and magnitude of the waste. The fine will appear as a charge on the customer’s LADWP water bill. Appeals will come directly to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.
The ordinance takes a phased approach to prohibited uses, allowing the Department to expand phases depending on severity of water supply conditions. Phase I seeks compliance of 14 prohibited uses and will be permanent, enforceable 24 hours a day, 12 months a year. Implementation of Phases II and subsequent phases will occur upon the assessment of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of the city’s water supply.
Under Phase II as example, the city will institute non watering days leaving Monday, Thursday or Saturday as permissible days to irrigate landscaping. Under Phase III, watering outdoors will be cut back an additional day to Mondays and Thursdays only.
Link to PDF of amended Emergency Water Conservation Plan Ordinance. (The new language is underlined in blue and old language has been stricken.)
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility, provides reliable, low-cost water and power services to Los Angeles residents and businesses in an environmentally responsible manner. LADWP services about 1.4 million electric customers and 680,000 water customers in Los Angeles.
LADWP Public Affairs
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