LA Council to consider changing nearly new water rules

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As homeowners’ lawns turn brown in the summer heat, the Los Angeles City Council will consider changing water conservation rules for L.A. parks and other large landowners. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports that this follows about 50 days after the rules took effect.

Molly Peterson: Since the start of last month, Angelenos have only been able to water their lawns on Mondays and Thursdays, before 9 in the morning and after 4 in the afternoon. One amendment to the city’s watering ordinance that Westside councilman Bill Rosendahl and his colleagues will consider would lift those restrictions for city parks and other large properties.

Bill Rosendahl: It’s not for sure something that a constituent would like to see water happening right next door to where they live. So I want to hear more about that discussion, what they’re talking about, before I say it’s a good idea or a bad idea.

Peterson: But what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. Especially if the goose – that’s the city – has installed weather-based controls on its watering systems. Mike Shull heads planning for the city’s Recreation and Parks department. In two years, it’s reduced its water use by 40 percent. Shull says the controls limit watering with humidity, temperature, and wind sensors.

Mike Shull: It might be a windy day on Monday, we might get Santa Ana winds. And then the controller would say, oh, I’m registering high wind speeds, not a good idea to water right now, because it’s going to waste a lot of water. But the ordinance says, you can only water that day.

Peterson: The weather controls could sense that Tuesday is a great day for watering. But Shull says the city ordinance has forced the department to turn its sprinkler system off.

Shull: Because if it did water that day, we’d be in violation.

Peterson: Shull says that if the new ordinance passes, L.A. Rec and Parks could water seven days a week. He maintains that his department’s efficiency measures would ensure that it uses less water, not more.

Another amendment the L.A. City Council will consider would give larger water allotments to livestock owners, and to people who own special medical equipment.