Feb 19, 2009

Los Angeles Utility Votes to Ration Water

Consumers will pay penalty for usage exceeding allowance

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), the nation’s biggest public utility, voted Feb. 17 to impose water rations for the first time in nearly 20 years, Reuters reported.
The publicly owned utility voted to charge consumers a penalty rate—nearly double normal fees—on any water they use that exceeds a reduced monthly allowance. More details will be formally voted on by the five-member board next month.
Unless the city council rejects the measure, the rations would take effect in May. Rejection is unlikely, given Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call for rations as part of a water-shortage plan introduced last week.
The measure comes as California deals with its third consecutive dry year. Reserves are down across the state, and a court ruling has limited the amount of water taken from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect endangered fish.
As a result, state water managers have reduced the delta water they provide to irrigation districts and cities to 15% of usual allotments.