With ongoing drought, LA moves to next phase of emergency plan

A scene from Los Angeles

Los Angeles is moving to the next phase of its emergency water conservation plan.

In an announcement yesterday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will move to Phase 3 of its emergency water conservation plan, requiring all LADWP customers to cut the number of outdoor watering days from three to two.

The news comes after a finding that despite the drought conditions and pleas from Governor Newsom to conserve, Californians increased their water consumption by 19% in March. The Guardian reports:

[T]he first three months of 2022 have been some of the driest ever recorded. Water use increased slightly in January and February before exploding in March when compared to 2020 figures.

Californians averaged 77 gallons (291 liters) a person a day in March, an 18.9% increase from March 2020. It’s the most water Californians have used in March since the middle of the previous drought in 2015.

The transition to Phase 3 requires City Council approval. It is anticipated to go into effect June 1.

Reduced Outdoor Watering.

For all LADWP customers with street addresses ending in odd numbers, watering will be limited to Mondays and Fridays. For all customers with addresses ending in even numbers, watering will be limited to Thursdays and Sundays. The changes come on top of existing watering restrictions, which stipulate that customers watering with sprinklers are limited to eight minutes per use; watering with sprinklers using water conserving nozzles are limited to 15 minutes; and watering between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM is prohibited, regardless of the watering day.

Outreach and Education.

Starting next month, LADWP plans to roll out an outreach and education campaign to help spread awareness of the coming changes. The Department is also planning to increase the number of its Water Conservation Response Units, which will be teams in the field to provide warnings and issue citations to customers who are repeatedly out of compliance.

Rebates Offered to Encourage Conservation.

As water irrigation now makes up just 35 percent of LADWP’s total water use, Mayor Garcetti highlighted the nearly 20 water rebates offered by LADWP that have allowed Los Angeles to become one of the most water efficient cities in the country. These rebates include:

  • $3 per square foot rebate for turf replacement for up to 5,000 square feet per project for residential and commercial customers;
  • $500 for high-efficiency clothes washers, which increased $100 last month;
  • $250 for high-efficiency toilets, which also increased $100 last month;
  • $500 for zero and ultra low water urinals;
  • $6 for rotating sprinkler nozzles;
  • Free bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators;
  • Free high-efficiency showerheads;
  • $5 million allocated by LADWP to offer discounts on real-time water use monitoring devices;
  • And up to $2 million through the Technical Assistance Program (TAP), which incentivizes large conservation projects for commercial and industrial customers, up from $250,000 earlier this year.

Reducing Personal Water Use.

“We know that when called upon, Angelenos not only do their part to conserve, but they step up as leaders in conservation,” said Cynthia McClain-Hill, President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “So today, we are asking all of our customers to lean in harder this summer to save more water. A little less water use by everyone adds up to a lot more water available to get us through the summer and into next winter.”

LADWP is asking customers to reduce their per person use by seven gallons a day, which is the equivalent of:

  • Reducing showering time by four minutes; or
  • Shutting the faucet off during a 2-minute tooth brushing cycle and 5-minute shaving cycle.

Deborah

Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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