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Major changes in water rationing rules considered for L.A.

July 6, 2010 |  8:45 am

http://latimes.image2.trb.com/lanews/media/photo/2009-09/49101941.jpg

The Los Angeles City Council will consider major changes to the city's water conservation rules Tuesday morning.

At issue: the city's lawn-watering rules, which were cited in a recent report by an independent group of engineers as a factor in a series of water main bursts last year.

For more than a year, residents across the city have been barred from irrigating their yards and gardens on days other than Mondays and Thursdays. The new proposal, backed by the Department of Water and Power, would allow those who live at odd-numbered addresses to water on Mondays and Thursdays and residents at even-numbered addresses to water on Tuesday and Fridays.

The changes were recommended after a panel of experts concluded that the two-day-a-week irrigation rules helped trigger a series of pipe breaks by creating dramatic fluctuations in water pressure. Some water main breaks damaged homes and businesses. One created a sinkhole that swallowed part of a firetruck.

Under the new plan, those who live at street addresses that end in a fraction would use the last full digit of the address to determine when to water, according to a report on the plan.


The watering restrictions were approved in 2008 by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointees on the DWP board as part of a tiered system of conservation measures. The panel decided last year that Los Angeles should adopt Phase III conservation measures, which allow watering twice a week.

If city officials downgrade the seriousness of the drought to a Phase II situation, residents would be allowed to water three days a week. If they upgrade to a Phase IV emergency, residents would be permitted to irrigate only once a week, according to the proposal: Mondays for homes with odd-numbered addresses and Tuesdays for even-numbered addresses.

The council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 10 a.m.

-- David Zahniser

Photo: A burst water main caused damage in Studio City last year. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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