California drought: How L.A.’s watering restrictions work

Los Angeles residents now know the plan for significantly cutting water use beginning June 1.

The Department of Water and Power differs in some key ways from other local agencies that are struggling with unprecedented water restrictions due to the drought.

The restrictions, ordered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, target areas that rely heavily or entirely on the State Water Project, a Northern California water supply that officials say is dangerously low after the state’s driest-ever start to the year.

The plan was designed to achieve at least a 35% reduction in water consumption, which can be done through volumetric allocations or one-day-a-week watering limitations.

Here’s what you need to know about the DWP plan, which applies to all 4 million residents in their city of Los Angeles service area:

What to expect

  • Residents will be assigned two watering days a week based on their addresses — Monday and Friday for odd addresses and Thursday and Sunday for even ones.
  • Watering will be capped at only eight minutes, or 15 minutes for sprinklers with water-conserving nozzles.
  • Exceptions for drip irrigation and hand watering will remain in place.
  • No watering will be allowed between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. regardless of the watering days.
  • Those who don’t comply with the new rules will receive a warning, followed by escalating fines for each subsequent violation.
  • The DWP will also ramp up patrols to look for people violating rules or wasting water.
  • Officials are issuing a call for residents to use pool covers to decrease water loss from evaporation.

What is the goal?

  • The DWP opted not to scale back to one-day-a-week watering rules. Instead, it will focus on staying at or below a monthly volumetric allocation, officials said.
  • The rules will apply to everyone in the DWP’s coverage area — not just those that are dependent on State Water Project supplies, which have been hit hard by the drought.
  • DWP officials said their customers are already averaging about 112 gallons per person per day, less than half that of some other nearby agencies. The combination of two-day-a-week watering across the entire service area, enhanced conservation efforts and other local supplies means they can cap residents at about 105 gallons per person per day and still stay within the MWD’s allotment.

Conservation help available to DWP customers

Here are some of the programs offered by the DWP:

  • $3 per square foot rebate for turf replacement for up to 5,000 square feet per project for residential and commercial customers
  • $500 for high-efficiency clothes washers
  • $250 for high-efficiency toilets
  • $500 for zero and ultra low water urinals
  • $6 for rotating sprinkler nozzles
  • Free bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators
  • Free high-efficiency showerheads

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