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Calif. drought: Water restrictions for Long Beach residents start next week

Long Beach residents will only be able to water their lawns three days a week, for 10 minutes each day.
Stock image by Shaylor/Flickr Creative Commons
Long Beach residents will only be able to water their lawns three days a week, for 10 minutes at a time.

The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday to declare an “Imminent Water Supply Shortage.” It comes after Governor Brown’s declaration last month of a drought emergency and after State Water Project officials announced zero water allocations for the first time in its history.

The declaration enacts the first step in the city's four-step water conservation plan. Residents will only be able to water their lawns on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They will only be able to water for up to 10 minutes if they have traditional sprinkler heads that use more than a gallon of water per minute. Restaurants will only serve water to patrons upon request. 

“The action we take today is meant to be proactive, and will ensure that we can continue to provide an adequate supply of water to Long Beach residents, even in the face of continued drought conditions,” said Harry Saltzgaver, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners, in a written statement.

Water officials said they have confidence residents will comply with the new restrictions that are set to take effect next week. 

"Long Beach responded tremendously in the 2007 - 2009 drought, and I'm very optimistic that they'll do the same again," said Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water District. 

Wattier said the restrictions are the same ones enacted in 2007 and in 2011. He said that while Long Beach has one of the lowest rates of water use per capita in the state, he hopes the restrictions will trigger even further reductions. 

“I’d like to see another 10 percent reduction below where we are. When we did this same thing in 2007, we got about a 17 percent reduction," Wattier said. "Most of that has stayed, so I’d like to another 10 percent below where we are today.”