Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Updated at 2:50 p.m., April 18, 2015

The State Water Board Saturday adjusted mandatory water cutbacks for government water agencies to enforce on their customers, to avoid penalizing groups of people who have already cut back per capita usage.

But the mandatory cutbacks were increased slightly for cities where water usage is very high, such as Beverly Hills, Malibu and other places where lush landscaping is blamed for sucking the state dry.

Districts and cities that have more than 215 gallons per day in average per capita use must slash their total usage by 36 percent, the State Water Board ordered Saturday. That’s up a hair from earlier cutback orders of 35 percent.

Los Angeles and its DWP customers face an aggregate 16 percent cutback, rather than 20 percent. San Diego got a similar partial reprieve.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed the revised target for the city of Angels: “Since my October executive directive on the drought, to reduce L.A. water use by 20 percent … our city has reduced its water consumption by 7 gallons per capita per day,” he said.

“That puts us on track to meet the directive’s targets” of a 16 percent cut.

In orders released Saturday, water agencies are ordered to accomplish the water usage cutbacks starting in June, and reach compliance by next February.

Previously, the board had put California water districts in four categories. That has become nine categories, and areas that have already demonstrated accomplishments in water use reductions have been given a break. So have low-income, densely populated cities where water consumption per person is very low, and where 4 percent reductions have been ordered.

The California Water Company’s customers in East Los Angeles, for example, have already cut back water use by 8 percent, and use just 51 gallons per day per person. They face another 8 percent conservation target.

At the other end of the spectrum are Beverly Hills, Glendora, Malibu, Quartz Hill and other wealthy enclaves, where lush landscaping and large lots cause a gigantic increase in drinking water use. People in Quartz Hill, a desert suburb in the Antelope Valley, buy 365 gallons of water per person per day.

Those areas must cut water use by 36 percent or face penalties, rate hikes, or more-drastic measures, the State Water Board has ruled.

—City News Service

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