PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Monday marked a point in California’s drought saga in which talk progressed into action.
New mandatory water restrictions became official Monday after months of discussion and debate as the state continues to battle the historic drought.
City officials from all over California have toiled over recent months to meet new state standards to avoid fines for wasting water.
Pasadena City Council members heard from the public Monday night on plans to raise the drought emergency level, including limiting the amount of water residents can use to water their lawns and landscapes.
The public hearing heavily covered decreasing lawn-watering days from three days per week to two days per week throughout summer and spring months.
“What’s really important is for everybody in the state to realize that we’ve got to make a dramatic change in how we use our water,” Pasadena Water and Power General Manager Phyllis Currie said. “Water is precious. It’s not an unlimited source.”
Pasadena is required to reduce its water use by 20 percent, a difficult task for residents who already have made deep cutbacks on water use.
“I feel that we’re going to be penalized because we already cut back,” resident Patricia Ard said. “If we would have been spendthrift with our water, then I would say ‘yes, let’s go ahead and do that,’ but now we’re going to be cut back after we’ve already cut back.”
Pasadena is moving into a second-tier drought emergency. Upon reaching the fourth tier, no lawn watering will be allowed at all.
As of June 1, new water-use regulations went into effect in cities and towns throughout the state, as the campaign to save water moves from the discussion stage into action.
As of Monday, the amount of water you use can cost you a hefty penalty if you don’t cut back enough, according to state standards. Cities and districts also face large fines if they fail to cut back by February 2016.
In Burbank, where the cutback goal is 28 percent, the city is calling the reduction in water use the “Billion Gallon Challenge.”
“A billion gallons is a lot of water, but if everybody pitches in, we can definitely do this,” Burbank spokesman Drew Sugars said. “If we don’t, we face $10,000 a day in fines.”
Residents recognizing that fact appear to be on board.
“I’m going to have to buckle up and do it,” Burbank resident Mary Alvord said. “I have not replaced my green grass in the front or the back, and it’s starting to look stressed, but it’s just the reality of what the drought means to us here in Southern California.”
In San Bernardino, where water usage will have to be reduced by 24-to-36 percent, residents are being asked to cut lawn watering by 50 percent.
“We need to cut back on extraneous uses of water, particularly water waste, and we need to adopt more drought-tolerant and more water-friendly landscaping,” San Bernardino Valley Water District’s Mark Bulot said.
Pasadena water officials report that they’ve already cut water usage by 7 percent, knowing they will need to reach 28 percent by February.