Facing drought cuts, Newport Beach gets tough on water use

Newport Beach residents -- among the state's highest water users -- face cutbacks

Newport Beach may soon enforce stricter water conservation measures for local residents and businesses.

The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a staff recommendation to move to Level 3 of the city's conservation plan.

Under the proposal, homeowners would have to restrict their water use in each billing period to 75% of their average use for that period in the past three years.

Customers also would be barred from watering landscaping between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and from watering for up to two days after it rains.

The proposed rule also states that homeowners could water their lawns only twice a week from April through October and once a week from November through March.

Residential pools and spas could not be filled or refilled more than three inches once per week. Ponds and fountains could not be refilled with drinkable water more than once every other week unless to sustain "aquatic life," the staff report states.

The city currently is at Level 1 of its water conservation plan. That level prohibits customers from exceeding their average water use from each billing period in the past three years. It also limits outdoor watering to four days a week from April through October and two days a week from November through March.

City staff's recommendation comes on the heels of a state Water Resources Control Board requirement for Newport Beach to reduce its water use by 28% from last year.

"If customers reduced their water usage to 75% of their base amount (three-year average), this would be a 25% reduction consistent with the city achieving the goal of 28%," the staff report states. "The remaining 3% may be achieved by other city efforts to reduce overall city usage, such as not watering center medians."


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