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Drought leads to declaration of Level 2 water shortage in Newport Beach

View of Newport Harbor.
The Newport Beach City Council adopted a water supply shortage declaration, which establishes an additional layer of regulations to reduce water waste.
(Raul Roa )

New but relatively minor restrictions went into place immediately this week with the adoption of a new water shortage declaration unanimously adopted Tuesday night by the Newport Beach City Council.

Automated sprinkler use in Newport Beach is now limited to three days a week, and residents will be asked to decrease their household water usage to where it was in 2020.

For the record:

10:20 a.m. July 1, 2022A previous version of this story stated watering must be done between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Landscape watering is prohibited during this time.

In addition, landscape watering is prohibited between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and automatic sprinklers must run for 10 minutes or less. Residents are also asked to not use potable water to wash sidewalks, driveways or hardscapes. Water leaks must be repaired within three days.

Outdoor irrigation within two days of a rainstorm will also now be prohibited, according to a statement released by the city.

“Following another consecutive dry year in California, the city has declared a Level 2 Water Supply Shortage to reduce water use and comply with state regulations,” said Newport Beach utilities director Mark Vukojevic in a statement issued Thursday. “We are asking our residents to partner with us in reducing water use, particularly outdoors where most water waste occurs.”

Vukojevic said enforcement is possible and will focus on waste, but education will be key in addressing the water shortages.

Officials say this action comes in response to an executive order handed down by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who in March told urban water suppliers to activate Level 2 — an overall target reduction range of 10% to 20% — of their locally customized contingency plans, which the city recently adopted.

In a staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, city staff said its utilities department certified Newport Beach has enough water to meet demands for the next year and the city uses about 25% less water than it did two decades ago.

Still, it does not mean Newport Beach is exempt from being affected by the drought as no surplus currently exists and current water supplies are threatened. Nearly all of California is under severe or extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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