New Water Ordinance – Do You Know What Two Days You Can Legally Water Your Yard?

Press Release posted 8/10/14 – (Editor’s note – in the sections of the following press release that have bold type,  the emphasis was mine).  

The City recognizes that many Sierra Madre water customers have worked hard to conserve water and their efforts are much appreciated.  By all means thank you, and please keep up the good work!

On July 15, 2014, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted Emergency Regulation Article X (“Prohibition of Activities and Mandatory Actions During Drought Emergency”) pursuant to its authority under Water Code Section 058.5. On July 22, 2014, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing to consider the implementation of further mandatory water use prohibitions consistent with the state-adopted Emergency Regulations of the California State Water Resources Control Board. The City Council action was required under the State regulations.

The following prohibitions are in addition to and separate from the previously adopted 30% water use reduction. Note, however, that the water use prohibitions listed herein may assist the water customer in meeting the 30% reduction goal.

The following water uses are prohibited under Sierra Madre Municipal Code (SMMC) sections 13.24.060 and 13.24.230. Violations of these provisions are subject to administrative citations and fines of up to $500 per violation.

13.24.060 Prohibited uses applicable to all customers.

The following uses of water are prohibited for all water department customers. Violations of this section are subject to administrative citation pursuant to the procedures set forth in SMMC chapter 1.18.

  • There shall be no washing of sidewalks, walkways, patios, driveways, or parking areas by a water hose.
  • No water shall be used to clean, fill or maintain levels in decorative fountains unless such water is part of a recycling system.
  • No restaurant, cafe, deli, or other public place where food is sold, served or offered for sale, shall serve drinking water to any customer unless expressly requested by the customer.
  • No customer of the water department shall permit water to leak from any facility on the premises.
  • No lawn, landscaping, or other turf area shall be watered or irrigated between the hours of ten a.m. and four p.m.
  • No lawn, landscape, or turf area shall be watered in a wasteful manner. Nor shall any water be wasted if the existing conditions may be corrected or reasonably modified.
  • The use of a hose to wash an automobile, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use.

Restrictions on irrigation (13.24.230).

  • If so declared pursuant to a drought or water shortage emergency, in addition to the restrictions set forth in section 13.24.060 (A-G), no customer shall make, cause, use, or permit the use of water delivered from the water department more than two days per week for purposes of irrigating of lawn, landscape or other vegetated area (“landscape irrigation”):
    • Even-numbered addresses shall be limited to landscape irrigation on Mondays and Thursdays.
    • Odd-numbered addresses and addresses ending in fractions shall be limited to landscape irrigation on Tuesdays and Fridays.
    • The restrictions above do not apply to landscape irrigation zones that exclusively use very low flow drip type irrigation systems when no emitter produces more than two (2) gallons of water per hour. These restrictions are not applicable to watering or irrigating by use of a hand-held bucket or similar container, a hand-held hose equipped with a positive self-­closing water shut-off nozzle or device, or for very short periods of time for the express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system.”

Failure to comply—Penalties (13.24.140).

  • Pursuant to State Water Resources Control Board Emergency Rule Article X. Section X.1 and the procedures set forth in Chapter 1.18 (“Administrative penalties”) of this code, a violation of Sections 13.24.060(A, B, F, and G) or 13.24.230 of this Chapter shall be punishable by an administrative citation as follows:
    • $125 for the first violation;
    • $250 for the second violation;
    • $500 for the third and any additional violation.

The City of Sierra Madre is taking the months of August and September to educate water users of the new State regulations and 30% conservation targets. Please take this time to begin developing and implementing these changes in your home water use.  The City and State are facing the most severe drought in history. The City and the State are asking that all water customers step up their efforts to change the way they use water in their homes and businesses.  The City is required to initiate Section 13.24.140, but for August and September it will first issue warnings in order to educate water customers.  However, flagrant or repeated disregard for the conservation regulations may result in immediate administration of fines and penalties.

(From the Editor: Were you aware that you can now only water two days a week?  What do  you think about these new regulations?  Answer in the comments).