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New rules push water conservation

June 1, 2009 7:39:41 AM PDT
Water woes have the Department of Water and Power asking customers to reduce their water use, and those who don't will see higher bills and hefty fines.New rates go into effect Monday based on how much water is used.

Los Angeles DWP customers also have new water restrictions. Lawns can only be watered by sprinklers on Mondays and Thursdays. Hand watering is allowed any day, but watering of any kind is not allowed between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The changes are in response to a three-year drought, and the region's water supply is expected to drop about 20 percent this year.

Last year, Los Angeles residents cut their water usage by about 5 percent, but officials said more conservation is needed.

"If there's a drought, and we do need to cut back water, I think that's a good idea. I think people need to be aware of where their water is going," said Scott Peat, a Valley Village resident.

DWP customers are asked to cut back their water consumption by 15 percent. For example, a customer who typically pays about $82 every two months is allocated 2,800 cubic feet of water. But beginning Monday, the tier 1 rate takes effect, which includes 2,400 cubic feet of water for about $70 every two months.

Dorothy Carson, a DWP customer, said a rate increase will be hard for her to afford.

DWP said wasting water is money down the drain, so customers who conserve will also save money.

Those who use more water go into the tier 2 rate category, costing those customers about $20 more per billing cycle.

Tips to conserve water include:

  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Shorten your showers. A 1 or 2 minute reduction can save 375 gallons of water a month.
  • Run full loads of laundry/dishes, which could save 300 to 800 gallons of water a month.
  • Adjust sprinklers

The city's drought busters will be looking for water wasters, and residents could be fined up to $300.

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