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Council recommends 3-day watering schedule

July 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The L.A. City Council recommended on Tuesday a three-day water rationing schedule for Department of Water and Power customers. The recommendation comes after a report linked a rash of DWP water-main breaks to the current watering schedule.Under the current schedule, customers can water their lawns for up to 15 minutes every Monday and Thursday, but only before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

The Los Angeles City Council proposed a change to that schedule Tuesday.

"If you live on an odd-numbered address, you'll probably water for instance on Monday, Wednesday and Friday," said L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith. "If you live on even-numbered, you'll do it on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You'll be allowed to do it for eight minutes instead of 15 minutes, which cuts down the water use, but allows you to water three days a week."

L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn wants to see water restrictions completely.

"I think we ought to let people water the amount of water that they think that fits their landscape," said Hahn. "They're paying for it. People pay for what they use."

Smith's proposal now goes to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and back to the council for approval.

The twice-weekly, 15-minute schedule had been in effect for just over a year, but University of Southern California engineers told the L.A. City Council the two-day restriction may have caused the water-main breaks.

"When you put these fluctuations in the context of an aging, corroded, cast-iron water systems, you see, physically, failures due to fatigue," said Jean-Pierre Bardet, an expert from the USC School of Engineering.

Last summer, the LADWP recorded 101 water-pipe breaks from July through September -- double the usual number for that time period. A break in Valley Village caused a sinkhole so large that a L.A. City Fire Dept. fire engine fell almost completely into it.

The proposal is on the fast track in the city council. Calls have already been made to the LADWP Board of Commissioners. In about two weeks, the city council will vote on the proposal.

Some council members said they were hoping to have the revised plan in effect by the end of July.

City News Service contributed to this story.


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