Santa Monica : Water-Plan Penalty Delayed

In a concession to landlords irked by a pilot water-conservation project, the city of Santa Monica has delayed implementing a penalty clause in a toilet and shower head replacement program that is designed to cut city waste water by about 8% by 1994.

Voting 6 to 0, the City Council approved the plan proposed Aug. 1 to install ultra-low-flow fixtures on as many as one-fourth of residential bathrooms in Santa Monica. The measure, hailed by the city as an innovative conservation step, includes free distribution of 1,000 toilets and shower heads to property owners and a $100 rebate for each retrofitted bathroom.

Property owners succeeded, however, in postponing a planned $1-a-month surcharge on water bills, scheduled to go into effect April 1 next year, for those not complying with the program. The landlords objected to the council that costs of replacing toilets and remodeling surrounding floor and wall areas exceeded city estimates, and that some costs should be passed on to tenants, who are responsible for using the water-saving devices.

The city agreed to review its replacement cost estimates and consider requiring tenants to pay part of them before the measure goes into effect next spring.

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