The Pasadena City Council declared a water shortage on Monday night, unanimously approving new restrictions aimed at reducing water use by 20 percent compared to 2013 levels.
The council determined that the city has entered "Water Shortage Level 1," activating a plan that limits the number of days residents can water their lawns to three and reduces the amount of time allowed to fix leaks to 72 hours. Normally residents have up to seven days after being notified by Pasadena Water and Power to repair any leaks.
Residents who fail to comply with the new restrictions face incremental fines up to $500; businesses can be fined up to $1,000.
The water cops won't be out in force right away, though. Phyllis E. Currie, PWP's general manager, said the decision Monday needed to be made without delay, but that notices will be sent out to give residents a chance to adjust before the rules are fully enforced. And a first notice will only result in a written warning.
Even with the new restrictions in place, it could be difficult for the city to attain its goal of reducing water use by 20 percent, said Eric Klinkner, PWP's assistant general manager.
"The 2013 consumption was already in the neighborhood of 12 percent less than our peak, and close to less than 10 percent of our baseline, so really that would be something like 30 percent below baseline levels. And we're in a dry year where demands are higher," Klinkner said.
In addition to the new restrictions, the city of Pasadena has permanent water use restrictions:
- No watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., with exceptions for low-water use implements such as a hand-held bucket or a hose with shut-off nozzle
- No watering in the rain
- No runoff — Nothing that causes excessive water flow onto sidewalk, street, etc.
- No washing hard or paved surfaces, including sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, tennis courts
- Must repair leaks in a reasonable amount of time — no later than seven days after receiving notice from city
- Water fountains and decorative water features must use recirculated water
- Washing of vehicles limited — prohibited unless using hand-held buckets or hose with shut-off nozzle (doesn't apply to car wash businesses)
- Drinking water served on request only wherever food and drinks are sold
- Restaurants required to use water-conserving dish wash spray valves
- Daily linen service must be optional at hotels and other lodging establishments
- No single-pass cooling systems in buildings requesting new water service
- New commercial car washes and laundry businesses prohibited from using non-recirculating water system
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