Pasadena Water Shortage Declared

Published : Thursday, July 16, 2009 | 5:58 AM

The Pasadena City Council declared a Level 1 water shortage this week, adding two new restrictions on water use in Pasadena and other areas that receive water from the Pasadena Water and Power Department.

Effective today, July 16, outdoor watering is restricted to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the summer period (April 1 to Oct. 31) and to Saturdays only during the winter period (Nov. 1 to March 31). In addition, malfunctions and leaks in sprinkler and plumbing systems must be repaired within 72 hours of notice.

Enforced with formal written notices and fines of up to $1,000, these new restrictions are in addition to permanent water waste prohibitions that took effect July 4:

· No watering outdoors between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. except with a hand-held container or hose with a shut-off nozzle, or for very short periods when adjusting a sprinkler system

· No watering during periods of rain

· No excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement, gutters or ditches from watering or irrigating landscapes or vegetation of any kind

· No washing down paved surfaces unless for safety or sanitation, in which case a bucket, hose with a shut-off nozzle, cleaning machine that recycles water or low-volume/high-pressure water broom must be used

· All property owners must fix leaks, breaks or malfunctions when they find them or within seven days of receiving a notice from PWP (or within 72 hours if a Level 1 shortage is declared)

· Fountains and water features must have re-circulating water systems

· Vehicles must be washed with hand-held buckets and/or hoses equipped with water shut-off nozzles (does not apply to commercial car washes)

· Restaurants may not serve drinking water unless by request and must use water-saving dish-wash spray valves

· No installation of non-recirculating water systems at new commercial car washes and laundries. Effective July 1, 2010, all commercial car washes must have re-circulating water systems or secure city waivers

· Hotels and motels must give guests the option to decline changing of daily bed linens and towels

· No installation of single-pass cooling systems in buildings requesting new water service.

Ongoing concerns about Pasadena ’s depleting water supply prompted the city council to amend its water shortage procedures (Pasadena Municipal Code 13.10) last month and ultimately declare an official water shortage Monday night for the first time in 18 years.

Rainfall in Pasadena has been below normal for three out of the past four years, the local groundwater supply has depleted significantly and court-ordered pumping restrictions have drastically reduced the Metropolitan Water District’s water imports from Northern California.

Pasadena receives 65 percent of its supply from MWD, a wholesale water supplier which serves 18 million people in the Southland. MWD cut its allocation to Pasadena by 10 percent on July 1 and will impose surcharges on all member cities, including Pasadena , if they do not meet water conservation targets.

If supply conditions worsen, the city council could declare a higher level of water shortage, up to Level 4. The various levels reflect the severity of shortages and indicate how many days per week outdoor watering is allowed, how soon leaks must be repaired, whether the washing of vehicles will be allowed and whether the filling of pools, ponds, fountains and other water features will be allowed.

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