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Get ready to cut back on your water use

August 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Thursday signed a new ordinance into law tightening water restrictions across the city.The mayor wants you to turn off the tap, especially when it comes to water use outdoors. More than a million DWP customers in Los Angeles will soon have to change their habits when it comes to watering their lawns, washing their cars, and even ordering water to drink at restaurants.

One of the biggest changes locals will notice will be out at restaurants. The ordinance prohibits restaurants from serving water unless customers ask for it. If they don't abide they face a hefty fine.

"We have enough things to worry about keeping business going and making sure we give good service, and now we have to worry about asking people if they want water," said Bob Greene, manager of Paty's Restaurant.

The ordinance will also require hotels to give guests the option of reusing their towels and linens.

For homeowners the biggest change will be how and when they can use water outdoors. From Apr. 1 to Sept. 30 residents will be prohibited from watering their lawns between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and watering will be limited to 15 minutes a day. Residents will also no longer be able to use a hose to wash off driveways and sidewalks, and if you're washing your car, you can only use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.

The new restrictions are getting mixed reviews from residents.

"I think that's going a little too far," said Lucy Babiryan. "I mean, it's ridiculous when you can't just get water when you're at a restaurant, you have to ask for bottled water."

"I think it's a great idea," said Karen Oswald. "I don't think if ground water isn't actually absorbing into the [grass] between 9 and 4 then it shouldn't be done."

"I think we could take care of it if we could really conserve the water, but I think it's a little drastic," said LaTrisha Boothe.

"I think that's perfectly fair," said Toluca Lake resident Toni Perling. "We do live in the desert and we forget that, but we need to be water-wise, so I think it's excellent."

Violators will first be warned; on the second offense residents will face a $100 fine and business will face a $200 fine. The ordinance will go into effect in 10 days.

The city is also expanding its team of so-called drought busters to enforce the new law when they spot water being wasted.

Eyewitness News reporters Leanne Suter and Carlos Granda contributed to this report.

 

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