La Verne residents may struggle to keep their lawns green when restrictions on once-a-week outdoor watering are in place from June 1. The measure was issued in response to an emergency order from the region’s largest water wholesaler last month.
In a unanimous vote on Monday May 16, La Verne City Council passed its own emergency ordinance to reduce outdoor watering to one day per week and urge residents to reduce water use by 20%. As of June 1, casting of addresses ending in even numbers is allowed from Tuesday 6 p.m. to Wednesday 10 a.m. and from Thursday 6 p.m. to Friday 10 a.m. for addresses with odd numbers.
However, manual watering of trees is exempt from the one-day-a-week limit, as are drip irrigation systems, the city said.
Designated fire hazard zones north of Baseline Road are exempt from the one day per week watering restriction but must meet a mandated 20% reduction in overall water use.
Due to the state’s worsening drought, the Department of Water Resources announced in March a reduction in the allocation from the state water project from 15% to 5%. The water project supplies approximately 30% of Southern California’s water consumption, 75% of which is in La Verne.
In April, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared a water shortage emergency and ordered outdoor irrigation restrictions for about 6 million people dependent on the state water project in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.
Three Valleys Municipal Water District, an MWD agency that provides water to La Verne and other communities in the San Gabriel and Inland Valleys, last month passed an emergency protection program that will result in the enforcement of irrigation restrictions in La Verne and Claremont, which both are dependent on the state water project.
If cities fail to comply with district guidelines, they face fines of $2,000 per acre foot of water over their limit or a ban on outdoor irrigation on September 1. The restrictions are in effect through June 30, 2023, except in the Three Valleys where the board is lifting the emergency declaration prior to that date.
Claremont’s water is supplied by the Golden State Water Co. while La Verne operates its own distribution system.
Claremont City Council is expected to vote on an ordinance similar to La Verne’s on Tuesday May 24. If approved, Claremont’s water restrictions would go into effect May 31 and enforcement would begin June 1, city spokesman Bevin Handel wrote in an email on Wednesday.
While La Verne officials have called for households to use less water, outdoor irrigation is one of the biggest water consumers and contributes to worsening drought conditions. According to a city employee report, the average La Verne resident uses 135 gallons of water per day.
In July, Governor Gavin Newsom asked Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%. But they lagged behind, reducing water use by just 5.8% between July and February.
Last month, Newsom signed an executive order urging water boards to begin limiting landscape irrigation and proposing financial penalties to deter violators.
La Verne councilor Robin Carder said Monday the regulation will result in much of the cityscape “not being as green as residents are used to”.
That’s the reality residents are having to adjust to, Councilor Rick Crosby said.
“It’s not going to please everyone, it’s just the state we’re in,” Crosby said.
MWD is offering a $2 per square foot discount for grass replaced with water-conserving landscaping. In the meantime, discounts are available from other local water authorities.