L.A. City Council approves twice-a-week outdoor watering limits in emergency drought plan

A gardener uses a leafblower next to a lawn with sprinklers going off
Sprinklers water a home’s lawn on Sunset Boulevard near Carmelina Avenue in Los Angeles last month. Starting June 1, L.A. residents can water before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. on two specified days a week.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Starting in June, millions of Angelenos will be limited to watering outdoors twice a week under new restrictions passed Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The third phase of the city’s Emergency Water Conservation Plan Ordinance passed on a 13-0 vote, approving drought rules released by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on May 10. The watering limits go into effect June 1, the DWP said.

Customers with street addresses ending in odd numbers can water on Mondays and Fridays before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m., according to the utility. Customers with even-numbered addresses can water Thursdays and Sundays at the same times of day.


“Angelenos care deeply about sustainability and are eager to do their part as we confront the climate crisis and severe drought,” Council Member Mitch O’Farrell, chair of the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice and L.A. River Committee, said in a statement. “Today’s vote … sends a crystal clear message that we are serious about water conservation and ready for action. There is no time to waste.”

The new limits expand water conservation efforts such as prohibiting watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and limiting outdoor watering with sprinklers to eight minutes per station on permitted watering days, according to the DWP.

California water regulators have banned the watering of decorative ‘nonfunctional’ grass at commercial, industrial and institutional properties.

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Under the latest conservation measures, use of sprinklers with water-conserving nozzles is permitted for up to 15 minutes, twice a day, on designated watering days, the utility said.

“Angelenos have led on water conservation for decades and made it a part of their daily life,” Board of Water and Power Commissioners President Cynthia McClain-Hill said. “With two-days-a-week watering, we’re asking Angelenos to step up once again and make that adjustment on their sprinkler system by June 1. We just can’t afford to waste another drop.”

The utility is also asking its customers to utilize rebates and programs such as its $3-per-square-foot turf replacement, high-efficiency shower head and faucet aerator giveaways.

A list of all rebates and programs is available at Commercial customers can visit for rebates and programs.


The latest watering restrictions come as state water regulators, acting on an order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, directed local suppliers to activate drought plans and take steps to reduce water use.

L.A. Times readers share how they are conserving water in California amid drought restrictions.

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Weeks earlier, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California called for the strictest-ever water cuts in the region due to worsening drought conditions and reduced supplies from the California State Water Project.

Unlike some water agencies affected by the district’s order for a 35% reduction, the DWP opted not to scale back to one-day-a-week watering rules. Instead, it will focus on staying at or below a monthly volumetric allocation, top officials said.

The DWP’s outdoor watering plan is less restrictive than those of other nearby agencies — including Three Valleys Municipal Water District, which will move some areas to Phase 5 of its ordinance.

Mayor Eric Garcetti told The Times this month that this was because Angelenos have already made progress conserving water. For example, DWP customers had been in Phase 2, which includes three-day-a-week watering rules, since 2009.

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Those who don’t comply with the new rules will receive a warning, followed by escalating fines for each subsequent violation, Martin Adams, the DWP’s general manager and chief engineer, told The Times this month.


DWP officials said their customers are already averaging about 112 gallons per person per day, less than half of that of some other nearby agencies. The combination of two-day-a-week watering across the entire service area, enhanced conservation efforts and other local supplies means they can cap residents at about 105 gallons per person per day and still stay within the MWD’s allotment.

Times staff writer Hayley Smith contributed to this report.