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Santa Monica Imposes Outdoor Watering Restrictions

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

June 15, 2022 -- With California caught in the grip of a worsening drought, the City Council Tuesday night approved an emergency ordinance that limits outdoor watering to two days a week.

Approved unanimously, the ordinance -- which goes into effect July 5 -- also prohibits outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The action comes nearly two months after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) issued an order to reduce outdoor watering to one day per week in State Water Project dependent areas.

Santa Monica, which largely relies on its own water supply, is not covered by the order, but staff recommended the City implement its own, less restrictive, outdoor watering schedule.

The ordinance, staff said, "is needed to immediately provide flexibility in adjusting water conservation requirements for the upcoming summer months to maintain a reliable and sustainable water supply for the community and to align water conservation efforts with the region or state, as necessary."

Santa Monica is already in compliance with the Governor's Executive Order requiring all urban water suppliers to declare Stage 2 Water Shortage conditions and implement water conservation efforts.

Stage two of the City's Water Shortage Response Plan has been in place since 2014 ("Santa Monica Clamps Down on Water Use," August 14, 2014).

While the average person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day, during Stage 2, water allowances are 68 gallons of water per person per day.

Stage 2 also would boosted enforcement of water use restrictions that prohibit watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; over-spraying; hosing hardscapes, such as driveways, sidewalks and patios, and washing vehicles with a hose that does not have a shut off nozzle.

Irrigation runoff and runoff from washing vehicles are prohibited.

Other restrictions include wasting water; running fountains without a re-circulating system and serving water at restaurants unless requested.

On average, Santa Monica residents currently use less than 80 gallons of water per person per day, according to City officials.

"The new restrictions will reduce the City’s total water demand between 5 to 13 percent, or roughly 97 to 244 million gallons of water, over a six-month period," officials said.

California, with its short, wet winter season and overall dry conditions year-round, has experienced droughts throughout its history.

There have been major droughts in 1841, 1864, 1924, 1928–1935 (during the Dust Bowl), 1947–1950, 1959–1960, 1976–1977, 1986–1992, 2006–2010, 2011–2017, 2018 and 2020.

City officials attribute the prolonged and historic droughts that have more recently "impacted the security of water supplies" to Climate Change.

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