Crackdown on water use passes hurdle

A key City Council committee voted Tuesday to approve Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s new crackdown on excessive water usage, doubling fines for residents and quadrupling them for businesses.

The “drought buster” plan crafted by the Department of Water and Power seeks to punish people who water their lawns between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or wash their cars without “shut-off devices” on their hoses and restaurants that serve water without being asked.

Because of questions from the council’s Energy and the Environment Committee over the last few weeks, the plan probably won’t go into effect until September.

As many as 16 DWP “drought busters” would be assigned to issue warnings to first-time violators and fines to those who are caught two or more times. The DWP also operates a hotline for anonymous water-waster complaint calls.


“This won’t be simply a matter of ‘drought busters’ driving around the city trying to monitor behavior,” DWP General Manager H. David Nahai said. “They will receive many calls and be able do their job much more efficiently because the populace will participate in this entire process.”

The proposal is expected to reach the full council later this month.