Watering Limits Eased to 3 Days Per Week

San Marino residents who have fretted over wilting bushes and fried lawns this summer will now be able to sprinkle a little more water on those parched landscapes.
The city has announced that it will no longer limit residents to two days of outdoor irrigation per week, following a decision by San Marino’s primary water provider to allow customers to water three times weekly.
The city’s move is intended to clear up confusion over mixed messages on the matter, interim City Manager Cindy Collins said.
By decree of the City Council, residents have been limited to two watering days per week since June 2015. But California American Water sent out a postcard last week informing residents that they could now water three times per week: odd-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, even-numbered addresses on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
Since this runs contrary to San Marino’s water conservation ordinance, the city decided to suspend its enforcement of the two-day limitation and defer to Cal Am’s loosened restrictions until the City Council can address the matter at its meeting of Sept. 14.
The city’s limitations are not easily altered, since they were adopted in an emergency ordinance by the City Council last summer. Up until now, enforcement officials have been issuing warnings and citations to those who did not comply.
Cal Am’s decision stemmed from an easing of statewide drought rules by the state Water Resources Control Board and the state Public Utilities Commission. After assessing the current water supply, which improved some over the winter with topped-up reservoirs and a healthy snowpack in the northern part of the state, those two bodies gave local agencies greater control over conservation standards.
Though water restrictions have been eased in terms of watering days per week, the City Council has repeatedly expressed a conviction to make long-term water conservation a high priority here, and a number of other rules remain in force. They include:
• Watering is prohibited between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., except with use of a handheld bucket or a handheld hose with a shutoff nozzle.
• The watering duration per irrigation station is limited to 15 minutes.
• Excessive water runoff onto the sidewalk or street is not allowed.
• Washing down hardscapes is not permitted, unless needed to alleviate a safety or sanitary hazard, and only then with a handheld bucket or self-closing hose nozzle.
Cal Am’s notice indicated that low-flow irrigation systems (drip or micro-spray) emitting less than two gallons per hour are exempt from the day-of-week and duration limits.
For further information, call City Hall at (626) 300-0700.

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