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Drought roundup: LA ponders further limiting outdoor watering, plus waiting for El Niño

Will we be prepared for an El Niño this year?
Will we be prepared for an El Niño this year?
Photo by b3d_ via Flickr Creative Commons

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After nearly missing its June water reduction target, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has voted to give the City Council leeway to push through tougher water reduction measures ahead of schedule.

If need be, the City Council can now call for limiting outdoor watering to just two days a week, down from the current allocation of three days a week.

Under the so-called Phase III of the city’s emergency water conservation plan that the two-day-a-week limit falls under, residents would also be asked to use pool covers and refrain from washing their cars at home. Those are recommendations only, but would become mandatory once Phase IV kicks in.

For the plan to work, enforcement would be key. How would LADWP enforce the tougher outdoor watering limit? Would Angelenos comply with the tough restrictions?

In the meantime, El Niño, the powerful storm system many hope could bring relief to the parched state, continues to gain strength. What should Southern California expect if El Niño really is coming?


Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department

Amir AghaKouchak, climatologist and assistant professor, Center for Hydrology & Remote Sensing (CHRS) at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine