Los Angeles City Council poised to approve new water rationing schedule

Los Angeles residents would be able to turn on their sprinklers three days a week - as opposed to just two days - under a water rationing schedule that the City Council is poised to approve today.

Because of the extended drought, Department of Water and Power customers currently are allowed to irrigate their lawns for only up to 15 minutes each Monday and Thursday, before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

When an independent team of experts blamed that schedule for a rash of devastating water main breaks or "blow outs" last summer – including one that almost swallowed a fire truck – DWP agreed to change its water rationing schedule to ease the pressure on its aging pipes.

Under the proposed new ordinance, odd-numbered addresses would irrigate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and even-numbered addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to minimize evaporation.

Street addresses ending in 1/2 or any fraction would follow the schedule for the last whole number in the address.

Residents would be able to turn on "non-conserving nozzles," such as spray head sprinklers and bubblers, for up to eight minutes a day, or 24 minutes a week.

"Conserving nozzles," such as standard rotors and multi-stream rotary heads, could be turned on twice a day for up to 15 minutes each time, for a total of 90 minutes a week.

Watering with garden hoses that have shut-off nozzles is permissible any day of the week, but only before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

To further encourage customers to save water, the DWP intends to increase the rebate on water-conserving sprinkler nozzles to $8 per nozzle, which covers the purchase price. More details are available at www.LADWP.com/rwr.

Sports fields and large landscape areas may request to deviate from the proposed water rationing schedule by writing a notice to the DWP.

Under the city's Emergency Water Conservation ordinance, DWP customers are also banned from hosing down their sidewalks, driveways, walkways and parking areas.

They also must use a hose with a shut-off nozzle to wash their vehicles, and not allow leaks in their plumbing to go unrepaired.

In addition, the ordinance bans restaurants from serving water to their customers unless asked.