FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
City of Los Angeles Phase 3 Water Conservation Ordinance:
What is Phase 3 of watering restrictions?
Phase 3 limits outdoor watering with sprinklers to two days a week for eight minutes per station per watering day. Watering for 15 minutes per station, twice per watering day, is allowed when using water-conserving nozzles: these are rotating nozzles that stream water more slowly and uniformly to your landscape, and use significantly less water per minute than non-conserving nozzles. Watering days are Mondays and Fridays for odd-numbered street addresses;
Sundays and Thursdays for even-numbered street addresses
- Strongly recommend use of pool covers to decrease water loss from evaporation.
- Strongly recommend washing of vehicles at commercial car wash facilities. Most commercial facilities are more efficient due to the re-use of wash water.
- Except for watering days, which have been reduced from three days to two days a week (see above), all prohibited uses under Phase 1 and 2 continue to apply, including no watering at all between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Visit LADWP.com/wateringdays to view the full ordinance, including all phases and prohibited uses. Click on the tab for “Emergency Water Conservation Plan Ordinance” to view and download the ordinance.
Why is LADWP implementing Phase 3 (two-days-a-week watering) of the water conservation ordinance?
California is experiencing severe drought conditions in our third consecutive dry year, which has included the driest January, February, and March on record. LADWP is among the member agencies of the regional water wholesaler, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), that rely upon State Water Project (SWP) supplies from Northern California, which is the water source most impacted by the current drought. MWD’s water shortage emergency declaration mandated drastic cuts in water use in areas, including Los Angeles, that depend upon the SWP supplies.
Is there no water stored that we can tap into?
While there is water stored regionally, in part due to the heroic conservation efforts of LADWP customers, there is a lack of regional infrastructure to move that water into parts of MWD’s service territory, including LADWP’s service areas and those of five other agencies. As a result, LADWP and other impacted agencies have to reduce their demands on limited imported supplies from MWD. LADWP continues to shore up its local water supply through stormwater capture, groundwater remediation and water recycling.
Do the Phase 3 restrictions apply to commercial as well as residential customers?
Yes, all the same provisions apply to commercial customers, regardless of their size.
Why do properties with water-conserving nozzles get to water twice a day and for 15 minutes per session?
Even though more minutes are permitted when watering with
water-conserving nozzles, less water is used compared to
non-conserving nozzles. (View a list of conserving nozzles or visit www.socalwatersmart.com)
Does the two-days-a-week watering apply to drip irrigation?
Drip irrigation is subject to the same time allotment as water-conserving nozzles: No more than 15 minutes per cycle, up to two times per station on the two permissible watering days, based on address, for a total of 60 minutes per week, before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m.
Does the two-days-a-week watering apply to hand-watering my landscape?
Hand watering is allowed any day before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. if the hose is equipped with a self-closing water shut-off device. There is no specific time limit for this type of watering, but customers are reminded that any water use resulting in excess or continuous water flow or runoff onto adjoining sidewalks, driveways, streets, gutters, or ditches is always prohibited.
Does the two-days-a-week watering apply to the irrigation of food sources, such as a community garden?
Hand-watering (with a self-closing nozzle) and drip irrigation of a food source is allowed any day before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. A food source refers to vegetation that is considered edible, such as fruits or vegetables. There is no specific time limit for these irrigation measures, but customers are reminded that any water use resulting in excess or continuous water flow or runoff onto adjoining sidewalks, driveways, streets, gutters, or ditches is always prohibited.
Can I water outside of my two permitted watering days a week, so long as I stay within the total minutes allowed based on my irrigation system (e.g. 8 min/station x 2 days/week x 5 stations= 80 minutes total over a week vs. 2 days)?
While we understand the desire to do so, it would pose a problem for our enforcement which is based on two-days-a-week watering. We want to remind our customers that hand watering with a hose that has a self-closing nozzle is allowed any day of the week before 9 am or after 4 p.m.
Are there fines or penalties under Phase 3 and what are they?
The first notice will be a written warning. After the written warning, customers will be fined for violations of Phase 3, as shown below.
How will the restrictions be enforced?
LADWP’s Water Conservation Response Unit (Water CRU) representatives conduct field patrols of neighborhoods for compliance with the ordinance. They also respond to water waste complaints reported to LADWP and provide information and education to LADWP customers in violation of the watering restrictions. The WCRU will issue citations if violations continue not to be addressed.
Learn more at LADWP.com/waterwaste.
Will I be able to see the fines/water usage in real-time online?
You will be mailed a citation with information on how to pay it.
Does the ordinance also apply to customers using recycled water?
No, commercial customers using recycled water, including many city parks, golf courses, and industries that use treated wastewater for their landscape irrigation and operational needs, are exempt from the ordinance. In fact, their use of recycled water actually offsets the demand and makes more drinking water available for our customers.
Will going to two-days-a-week watering still enable LADWP to comply with the MWD restrictions?
The Phase 3 restrictions, as well as operational modifications by LADWP, will help us meet the limited amount of supply available from MWD if everyone does their part. Given the long history of conservation success in Los Angeles by our customers, we believe we can do it again. But it will require more than just fewer days of watering, so check out ladwp.com/save for rebates efficient devices indoors, tips and other programs to reduce your water use.
Why are we going to two days a week rather than one day a week as MWD has declared?
MWD provided two options for compliance – limiting outdoor watering to one day per week, or staying under a monthly water budget. While most other water agencies need to limit outdoor watering to one day per week to comply, we believe LADWP can operate under the monthly water budget set by MWD with two-days-a-week watering, thanks to our customers’ tireless efforts to make conservation a way of life.
How much water do LADWP customers use per day and have we set a new target?
As of April 2022, LADWP residential and commercial customers were using 112 gallons per person per day. Our goal is to reduce the amount to 105 per person per day for all water use in the city. Please view our many rebates for water-saving devices and tips for how to reduce our water use at LADWP.com/save.
What will happen if my plants die due to a lack of watering?
Most plants should survive on two-day-a-week watering.
Will I be able to fill my pool?
During Phase 3, you will be able to fill your pool but it is strongly recommended that you use a pool cover to prevent evaporation, whenever the pool is not being used. This will greatly reduce evaporation from your pool. Also, be aware that the next phase (Phase 4) requires covering residential pools and Phase 5 prohibits filling them with water.
What programs are available to save water and reduce our costs at the same time?
- Water Days Under Phase 3: www.LADWP.com/wateringdays
- Water Conservation rebates for residential customers: www.LADWP.com/save
- Water Conservation rebates for commercial customers: www.LADWP.com/cwr
- Commercial Technical Assistance program: www.LADWP.com/TAP
- California Friendly Landscaping/Turf Replacement Program: www.LADWP.com/landscaping
- Free Efficient Landscapes training: www.LADWP.com/landscapeclasses
- Leak Detection: www.LADWP.com/fixtheleak
Visit LADWP.com/wateringdays for all water conservation rebates and programs.
How long are these new measures expected to be in place?
The answer depends on how much and how quickly customers can reduce their water use and whether the drought persists. The more water we save, the longer these limited supplies will last.
Will a lack of vegetation on hillsides cause landslides?
Phase 3 allows two-days-a-week watering on hillsides.
Will going to Phase 3 affect the city’s water supply for fighting wildfires?
Water that is necessary to ensure health and safety will always be provided.
Do the Phase 3 restrictions apply to customers in fire-threat areas who are required to remain compliant with brush clearance and other required fire prevention measures?
The Los Angeles Fire Department requirements for residents in high fire-risk areas are focused on brushfire clearance prevention related to removing dried brush. While vegetation needs to continue to be maintained in accordance with the brush clearance requirements set forth by the City of Los Angeles, there are no brush clearance requirements related to irrigation.
In addition to watering with sprinklers two days a week, hand watering with a self-closing nozzle is allowed any day of the week under the ordinance, except during the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
For information about wildfire prevention and requirements please visit https://www.lafd.org/wildfire.
What if the hillside is recovering from a fire?
The provisions of the ordinance do not apply to hillside areas recovering from fire that have been replanted for erosion control. To qualify for this exemption, a customer must obtain verification from the agency requiring erosion control measures. The duration of the exemption is limited to either one growing cycle, one year, or establishment of the vegetation, whichever is the lesser time period.
What about property that is zoned for equestrian use?
Equestrian properties will be subject to the same Phase 3 restrictions as all customers. Any concerns regarding water for livestock and animal care should not be impacted by the move from Phase 2 irrigation restrictions to Phase 3 irrigation restrictions of the conservation ordinance.