November 2008
Our Drinking Water Supply and You

Faced with dwindling available water supplies on one hand and ever-growing demand on the other, the City Council of Los Angeles this past summer passed an ordinance that introduces new water use restrictions that you should be aware of. The first stage, in effect now and indefinitely, comprises a list of new regulations:

• Outdoor yard watering must be kept to a minimum: no more than 15 minutes at a time and no watering during periods of rain, or between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• No water run-off onto streets and gutters
• Don’t use water to wash any hard surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways • Use only recirculation systems for decorative fountains
• Use self-closing, shut-off devices on hoses when washing cars

As a DWP customer, you are responsible for compliance with these restrictions, even if the offender is someone else, such as a gardener or a renter. The first violation gets you a warning; subsequent ones yield fines in the form of surcharges on your water bill.

Should the water shortage become more severe, the City may implement further phases of the ordinance, which would mostly restrict outdoor watering to certain days of the week. It is very apparent that the water supplies Los Angeles has access to cannot keep up with the city’s demands in the long run. It is in the best interest of all of us to eliminate waste and reduce our usage of city water. Here are some of LADWP’s suggestions for how you can save water:

• Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 375 gallons per month.
• Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket.
• Use only as much water on your lawn as you need. Step on your grass -- if it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. Use the watering calculator and watering index found at to learn just how much you should water.
• Replace your old washing machine with a new, high-efficiency model. Learn how you can receive a $250 rebate from LADWP at

Here are links with more information on the LADWP website:

Summary of Phase I of the Ordinance - a flyer
Amended Water Conservation Ordinance - full text
Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions

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