Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a new water-use ordinance Thursday, August 14th, with expanded restrictions and increased penalties to encourage water conservation.
The new ordinance is part of the city’s plan to conserve and recycle enough water to meet 100 percent of new demand by 2030.
“Today, we are taking an important step forward in our effort to close the spigot on excessive water use,” said Villaraigosa, who was joined by Department of Water and Power general manager David Nahai in signing the ordinance. “We are stating unequivocally to all residents that anyone wasting our most precious resource will pay the price.”
The new measure updates the current water conservation ordinance to discourage waste by expanding the prohibited uses of water, increasing the penalties for violations and pledging full enforcement of existing restrictions.
The changes with the new law include doubling existing fines for residential customers from $50 for a first offense to $100, and quadrupling existing fines from $50 to $200 for a first offense for large customers, including businesses.
The ordinance will also prohibit customers from watering their landscape during rain and require hotels and motels to offer guests the option of re-using linen and towels instead of having them changed every day.
First instituted during the drought of 1990, the ordinance allows officials to penalize water wasters for activities such as watering during certain daytime hours, washing down pavement, serving drinking water at restaurants without the customer’s request and allowing excess water to flow from lawns.
“This action today emphasizes the magnitude of not only our water supply situation, but that of the entire state,” said Nick Patsaouras, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “It underscores the urgent need for residents to conserve water. Los Angeles residents have demonstrated in the past a conservation ethic and I’m confident that together, we can step up this effort.”
Villaraigosa also unveiled new “table tent cards” to distribute to restaurants citywide that wish to raise awareness about the need to conserve water. The cards will remind patrons that they will be served water only upon request.
“We are pleased to have this enforcement tool now as we face the challenge of constrained water supplies,” said Nahai. “This ordinance not only spells out what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in terms of water use, but helps us raise awareness of the value of conservation.”
The Department of Water and Power will begin enforcement of the water use ordinance through its Drought Buster Team. Over the past year, the “drought busters” have patrolled the city, issuing warnings and educating customers about water waste and the need for conservation.
The ordinance takes a phased approach to prohibited uses, allowing the Department of Water and Power to expand phases depending on severity of water supply conditions.
The restrictions instituted under the city’s new water-use ordinance include:
— limiting watering times to before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m., and to 15 minutes per station for rotating sprinklers and ten minutes per station for other types of sprinklers 12 months a year;
— prohibiting landscape watering during rain;
— prohibiting washing/rinsing vehicles with a hose when the hose does not have a functioning self-closing nozzle attached, or allowing the hose to run continuously;
— requiring hotels and motels to offer guests the option of re-using linen and towels; and
— limiting watering days to Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
In total, the city will conserve or recycle enough water to fill 100,000 football fields — or the entire San Fernando Valley with water one-foot deep — and enough water to supply 200,000 homes each year under the 20-year water strategy plan, city officials said.
For information and tips on how to save water, go to www .ladwp.com/ and click on “Water Conservation,” or www.bewater wise.com/.