SCWD customers see irrigating restrictions, more coming amid drought

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A green lawn at Montage Laguna Beach. File Photo

South Coast Water District customers will be restricted to irrigating landscapes to one day per week as early as November if drought conditions persist, water officials said Monday.

The District’s Board of Directors voted April 14 to move to level two of its water shortage contingency plan. As of May 1, customers must limit landscaping irrigation to three days per week through October. District officials will also step up notification and enforcement to fix leaks, double down on engaging the district’s most water-hungry commercial users, and a public awareness campaign.

“It’s really to limit the use of potable water and we’ve been working hard to get as many people as we can to do irrigation with recycled water and get people to replace lawns with artificial turf,” agency spokesperson Sheena Johnson said.

Late last month, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which is the largest supplier to both SCWD and the Laguna Beach County Water District, announced sweeping water restrictions after state water officials greatly reduced its allocation. These restrictions apply only to those MWD member agencies that get 100% of their supply from the State Water Project.

SCWD has a host of other water-saving strategies on tap for its customers:

  • Plant containers, trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens may be watered for additional days using only drip irrigation or hand watering with a hose with an attached self-closing nozzle.
  • Watering or irrigating is prohibited from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This applies to lawns, landscaping, and all other vegetated areas.
  • Watering or irrigating with a device or irrigation system is limited to no more than 10 minutes per valve per cycle.
  • Outdoor watering cannot result in runoff onto an adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures.

“Staff is re-evaluating next steps and plans to bring this item back to the SCWD Board, in light of MWD’s recent announcement,” General Manager Rick Shintaku said in a statement.

Several months ago, Laguna Beach County Water District was one of the first agencies to enter into Stage 2 of its water shortage contingency plan, assistant general manager Christopher Regan said.

“This stage is now what the State is asking of all agencies in its most recent Executive Order,” Regan wrote in an email. “We are currently preparing for next steps and will be having discussions with the District Commission and Board in May and June regarding those next steps.”

Laguna Beach County Water District currently receives 100% of its supply from MWD, Regan added.

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  1. Let me suggest a restriction we can over turn for the good of Laguna Tourism. Nantucket is close to allowing anyone regardless of gender to go topless on the beach. It’s called the Gender Equality on Beaches bylaw. A Ballot initiative has begun.

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