Utility officials call on council to declare water emergency
By André Coleman 07/24/2014
Water and Power Department officials plan to ask the Pasadena City Council to declare a local water emergency at Monday’s meeting and to adopt the city’s Level 1 Water Supply Shortage Plan.
Under Pasadena’s water waste prohibitions ordinance, the Level 1 shortage plan limits outdoor watering to three days per week —Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays — during summer months. It also requires water leaks to be fixed within 72 hours.
In order to declare the shortage, the city must hold a public hearing and receive City Council approval. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena.
California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, due in part to a high-pressure ridge in the atmosphere which has diverted storms that normally would bring winter rain to the area. According to the Los Angeles Times, the lack of winter rain has left reservoir levels extremely low.
In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought, directing officials across California to take all necessary actions to prepare for severe drought conditions. Brown has also asked consumers to cut water use by 20 percent.
Locally, the City Council approved 13 permanent water waste prohibitions in 2009, including no watering outdoors between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. except with a hand-held container or hose with a shut off nozzle and no excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement, gutters or ditches from watering or irrigating landscapes or vegetation of any kind. Residents are also prohibited from washing paved surfaces unless it is for safety or sanitation reasons, in which case a bucket or a hose with a shut-off valve must be used. Car washing is also prohibited unless a hand-held bucket or similar container or hose equipped with a water shut-off nozzle is used.
Fines for repeat offenders can be up to $500 per violation for residential customers, and up to $1,000 per violation for all non-residential accounts.
“As early adopters of these measures, the city believes it’s important for everyone to conserve water. These new regulations will ensure that everyone in the state will join Pasadena residents in this important effort,” Eric Klinkner, Water and Power chief deputy general manager, said in a prepared statement.
A complete list of Pasadena’s water waste restrictions is available at PWPweb.com/WaterWaste.