Glass half-empty

New water restrictions ‘too timid,’ says former Councilman Sid Tyler

By Joe Piasecki 07/16/2009

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Put down that garden hose!
Following months of discussion about the region’s diminishing water supply, Pasadena City Council members on Monday enacted water shortage regulations that restrict the times and days that residents can irrigate their lawns.

Effective today, watering lawns is permitted only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

But even on those days, pre-existing water-use restrictions prohibit watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to prevent excess evaporation.
The new rules are intended to help the city meet a 10 percent reduction in water use mandated by the Metropolitan Water District, which provides more than 60 percent of the city’s supply. Violators will be notified by Pasadena Water and Power field staff to change their wasteful ways or face fines from $100 and up to $1,000 for repeat offenders.

While the council’s decision to enact these latest prohibitions was unanimous, former Councilman Sid Tyler, who retired earlier this year, called on his colleagues to consider even tighter restrictions — namely, to further restrict summer lawn irrigation to twice weekly, which is still a future possibility if citywide water use does not decrease.

“What staff is recommending,” Tyler wrote to his former colleagues Friday, “is too timid, especially in light of the sharp reductions we are seeing in the  Raymond Basin aquifer. ‘Timid’ doesn’t seem too harsh a word when considering what the city of Los Angeles has gone to, with the same magnitude of problems in supply.”

The LA Department of Water and Power has targeted a 15 percent reduction in water use and allows landscape watering to occur only two days of the week.
Several council members pondered Tyler’s suggestion but decided that enacting less rigorous restrictions would ease residents into changing their habits.
The city plans to mail explanations of water-use restrictions to all PWP customers and advertise prohibitions in newspapers and on radio.
“Part of what we’re doing is to educate the public. We’re not anxious to do a lot of enforcing; we’re anxious to do a lot of conserving. My sincere hope is to educate people and bring them to the conclusion that wasting water is inappropriate,” said Mayor Bill Bogaard.

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