Angelenos respond to new water restrictions

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Wave Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — Recent water usage restrictions placed upon Los Angeles residents in hopes of combating a historic drought appear to be working, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has announced.

Last month saw the all-time lowest water use for any month of June on record in the city of Los Angeles, with usage dropping by 9% compared to June 2021, according to the DWP.

Mayor Eric Garcetti praised residents in a statement, noting that “it’s clear that Angelenos have heeded our call.”

The restrictions went into effect June 1. They included restricting outdoor watering to two days per week, down from the three, with watering permitted at odd-numbered street addresses on Mondays and Fridays, and at even-numbered addresses on Thursdays and Sundays.

Watering with sprinklers was limited to eight minutes per station. Sprinklers with water-conserving nozzles was limited to 15 minutes per station.

All watering must be done in the evening or early morning, with no watering permitted outdoors between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Garcetti urged residents to find additional ways to reduce water usage, such as using rebates from the DWP.

“As encouraging as this progress is, L.A. continues to shatter monthly heat records, and we are faced with the stark reality that this crisis is only deepening,” Garcetti said. “As the hottest months of the year approach, we’re asking Angelenos to not only maintain recent reductions but to find additional ways to cut back on their water usage by taking advantage of the nearly 20 DWP rebates that help our ratepayers save money and have made Los Angeles one of the most water-efficient cities in the country.”

DWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Martin Adams thanked residents, saying they “responded swiftly and decisively.”

“But it’s early in the summer months and we need everyone to continue saving water wherever possible to help us navigate the rest of the summer when water use is typically higher,” he said.

City officials noted that residents are also becoming more aware of the urgency of the issue — with the DWP seeing a 44% rise in the number of reports it receives about water-wasters.

During the first six months of the year, the city’s MyLA311 system received 1,643 reports about water waste or people violating irrigation rules, more than double the number from the first half of last year, according to data released July 18 by a nonprofit news organization.

Data compiled by Crosstown at USC, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, showed that 589 reports of water waste or other violations were made to the MyLA311 system in June alone, up from 314 in May.

Prior to March, the system had never received more than 200 water-waste complaints in a single month, according to Crosstown. During the first six months of 2021, only 752 such reports were made to the system, which is accessible online or by calling 311.

The Department of Water and Power’s separate online portal for customers to file complaints has also seen a spike, receiving 672 such complaints between June 1 and June 14 — 14% more than the number received in the entire month of June last year.

“We’re very encouraged by the increase in water waste complaints we have received,” the DWP’s Ellen Cheng told Crosstown. “It shows people are taking the drought seriously and trying to cut back their use as well as reporting on potential violations of the ordinance.”

New water restrictions took effect in the city on June 1, but state and local officials have been urging residents for months to conserve water in the face of a protracted drought.

The city has also seen a 10-fold increase in applications for the DWP’s turf-replacement rebate program.

 

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