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City may move to Stage 2 rationing

It would limit the irrigation of landscaped areas in Burbank to three days a week.

July 25, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

CITY HALL — Burbank would move to a three-day, 15-minute summer watering schedule and down to one day in the winter under a proposal unanimously approved by the Burbank Water and Power Board.

The push to move from the first to second stage of the city’s recently modified water rationing ordinance comes after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors voted to hike rates nearly 20% and impose penalty rates on member agencies that exceed designated water allotments.

MWD’s allocation plan, which took effect July 1, reduces shipments of imported water to member agencies by 10% from levels that were already down 10% last year. The main water wholesaler for Southern California provides Burbank with approximately half of its water supply.

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“If it were up to me, I probably would have done it sooner, before the hottest months are past us,” said Bill Mace, assistant general manager for water systems at the city’s utility. “If you were to wait until December, you may have missed the boat for that year.”

Despite a recent announcement by the state Department of Water Resources to release 10% more water to the region, the wholesaler opted not to distribute the extra water to local utilities and use the windfall to avoid tapping as much into its reserves, which in the last three years dwindled from 2.2 million acre-feet to 0.3 million acre-feet.

One acre-foot of water meets the needs of two average households for a year.

The City Council in May expanded the sustainable water use ordinance from four to six stages, imposing irrigation timetables, prohibiting residents from hosing down driveways, patios and sidewalks and banning restaurants, hotels, motels, cafes and cafeterias from serving water unless requested by customers.

The second stage would bring the city more closely in line with Pasadena and Glendale by limiting the irrigation of landscaped areas to three days a week — Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays — April through October, and only on Saturdays November through March.

The first stage banned outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Hand watering is allowed in some cases. It also includes seven additional mandatory practices, including the prohibition of outdoor water use for landscaped areas during, and at least two days after, rainy days.

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