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L.A. citing thousands who break drought rules; worst offenders could face flow limits

July 8, 2009 |  3:39 pm

Roughly 4,000 citations have been given out over the last year to Angelenos who violated the city’s new drought-driven water rules, the top executive at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said today.

DWP general manager H. David Nahai told an audience at the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum that the vast majority of those citations were given to first-time offenders, each of whom got off with a warning. Nevertheless, the city’s roving team of Drought Busters did give citations – and fines -- to 68 second-time offenders and nine third-time offenders.

Three DWP customers have been cited four times and, during their most recent offense, were issued a $300 fine, Nahai said. In each case, the offenders had “unattended leaks” – leaks found on pipes, sprinklers or irrigation lines, DWP officials said.

If those offenders are caught once more, they could be forced by the DWP to install flow restriction devices on their water meters, limiting the flow of water to one gallon per minute.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed new drought rules into law in August, limiting the times that residents and business owners are allowed to water their lawns and gardens. He won passage of a more strict set of regulations earlier this year.

The rules also require restaurant owners not to serve water unless specifically asked. Looking at the pitchers of water served during today’s address at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, Nahai told the audience: “I expect to see every glass of water here drained to the last drop.”

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall