March 3, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica City Council Limits Watering Lawns to Twice a Week

Ordinance also limits hours in which watering is allowed

By Sam Catanzaro

Citing ongoing drought conditions, Santa Monica City Council this week voted to restrict watering outdoor to two days a week. 

In April, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) issued an order to reduce outdoor watering in State Water Project dependent areas to one day per week. Santa Monica is not in the State Water Project dependent service area of the MWD and therefore is not impacted by this order. 

At their meeting Tuesday night, however, Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that implements further water restrictions, including limiting outdoor watering to two days per week. The new restrictions will go into effect on July 5, 2022. 

Prior law in Santa Monica did not limit how many days a week residents can water outdoors. The approved ordinance includes four stages: Phase 1 – outdoor watering limited to 3 days per week; Phase 2 – outdoor watering limited to 2 days per week; Phase 3 – outdoor watering limited to 1 day per week; and Phase 4 – No outdoor watering allowed. City Council has implemented Phase 2 restrictions, limiting outdoor watering to two days per week.

The unanimously also reduces the hours in which residents can water their lawns. Under the prior City code, no lawn or landscape area could be watered between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Under the new law, restricted watering hours have been expanded, now prohibited between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  

City staff, in a report, cited this is needed to “provide flexibility in adjusting water conservation requirements for the upcoming summer months to maintain a reliable and sustainable water supply for the community and to align water conservation efforts with the region or state.” 

According to the City, the restrictions are expected reduce Santa Monica’s total water demand by between 5 and 13 percent. This will have a net negative impact of a 3 to 8 percent reduction on the City’s Water and Wastewater Enterprise fund revenue, a projected shortfall of roughly $500,000 to $1.4 million over 6 months. The City says this will be offset by reducing operating costs (delayed maintenance of assets), capital project expenditures, and/or using the water enterprise fund’s rate stability reserve.

On June 1, a similar law went into effect in the City of Los Angeles, limiting   LADWP customers to watering two days a week, down from three days a week. The City of Los Angeles restrictions are based on street addresses, with odd numbers allowed to water on Monday and Fridays and even numbers allowed Thursday and Sunday. The City of Santa Monica proposal had not yet specified how watering days would be designated.

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