LADWP to Begin Enforcement of Unreasonable Water Use Ordinance On City’s Top Water Users
|Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved rules and procedures for enforcement of the Unreasonable Water Use Amendment to the City’s Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance Tuesday. Under the rules adopted by the Board, LADWP will begin evaluating customers that use water at the highest rate, Tier 4, for possible unreasonable water use. As part of a multi-step process, customers that are identified as potentially using water unreasonably will be contacted by LADWP’s Water Conservation Response Unit to conduct an Onsite Water Use Analysis and develop a property-specific water budget.
All customers receiving an Onsite Water Use Analysis will be provided a Customer Conservation Plan that summarizes the onsite visit, provides recommendations for improving water use, and includes a monthly budget. If the Onsite Water Use Analysis determines that a property violates the Ordinance’s Unreasonable Use of Water prohibitions, the Customer Conservation Plan will identify actions that need to be taken to reduce water use and comply with the monthly water budget. Failure to comply with the Customer Conservation Plan’s monthly water budget will result in a penalty.
Penalties for customers who receive a property-specific water budget and do not comply with their Conservation Plan will begin at $1000 per month under the current Phase 2 water use restrictions in place through the City’s Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance. Continued non-compliance will result in penalties up to $4000 per month. Penalties also increase if the City enters a higher phase of its water conservation ordinance and can top out at $40,000 per month for non-compliance under severe water use restrictions in Phase 5 of the ordinance.
With two full billing cycles completed under the new four-tier structure that went into effect on April 15, 2016, LADWP has sufficient data on hand to enforce the ordinance and compel the highest users to conserve or face stiff financial penalties.
Per the Ordinance, any single-family customer reaching Tier 4 pricing may be contacted by LADWP for an Onsite Water Use Analysis to investigate unreasonable use of water. Customers with water use that reaches Tier 4, as indicated on their bill should take steps to limit their water use. Rebates on household water saving appliances as well as outdoor water saving tips and rebates can be found at www.myladwp.com.
Prior to the unreasonable use of water amendment, LADWP had contacted the City’s top one percent of water users by mailing two letters notifying them of their high usage. From that outreach, LADWP began to see results. One resident embarrassed by being within the top one percent, contacted the Department about replacing a substantial amount of turf, while another was able to reduce water use by 35 percent after being notified.
While the monetary penalties under the enforcement program will prod some customers who have resisted calls to conserve, the main goal is to eliminate water waste by working directly with customers to reduce their use. The program is similar to the approach used by the Water Conservation Response Unit, which first provides information to customers caught violating the water conservation ordinance and then a warning, before using fines
“We find that education is a lot more effective than a penalty,” LADWP Interim COO and Senior Assistant General Manager of Water System Marty Adams said. “This ordinance allows us to utilize both a carrot and a stick when combatting water overuse. By educating our top users on ways they can save water, we hope they will change their behaviors long term – if not, the penalties kick in. With the passage of these procedures today, we can work with the City’s highest water users who are using excessive amounts of water and work with them to reduce their use.”