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2 L.A. councilmen want city to stop watering its lawns

Two Los Angeles city councilmen want to stop watering city lawns as drought worsens

With California's drought worsening, two Los Angeles City Council members want the city to stop watering lawns on city property that aren't used for recreation and eventually replace them with native, drought-tolerant plants. 

Councilmen Felipe Fuentes and Mike Bonin said in a motion introduced Tuesday that the city "is sending Angelenos mixed messages about the crucial importance of conserving" by watering its own turf-grass lawns even as residents face mandatory watering restrictions.

The motion specifically cites a recent report by Times' columnist Steve Lopez about a lawn outside a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power electricity distribution station in Eagle Rock. Neighbors said it had been watered for hours on end. 

“Even if we were not in the middle of a drought, it makes no sense to have a large, lush lawn at a DWP substation,” Bonin said in a statement. “Let’s make our substations and other City properties showcases for sustainability."

The motion asks the city to shut off sprinklers on "large" lawns but doesn't offer any other details.   

"We intentionally didn’t specify a square footage because we really want them to shut off the water at any patch of grass that acts as a lawn," said David Graham-Caso, a spokesman for Bonin. "We’d rather it be shut off now and they can figure out later if they want to turn the water back on."

The two councilmen also introduced a motion asking the department to consider implementing water conservation measures recommended by a recent UCLA study on the city's water use. 

The study, which examined 10 years' worth of water use data, recommends the city provide individualized water budgets for households, expand its two-tiered pricing system and install dual-metering systems that differentiate between indoor and outdoor water use.   

"This is about empowering people with information to do a better job of conserving water," Graham-Caso said.

"We look forward to working with the mayor and the council as they consider additional strategic conservation measures in Los Angeles," said DWP spokeswoman Michelle Vargas.

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