Downey enacts water restrictions, effective immediately

Photo by Pam Lane,

Photo by Pam Lane,

DOWNEY – Facing mandatory water restrictions from the state of California, the Downey City Council on Tuesday adopted sweeping regulations limiting water usage at homes and businesses. 

The regulations are in line with Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order from April 1, which established mandatory water use restrictions throughout the state. 

Brown also ordered a 25 percent reduction in potable water use statewide; Downey is expected to reduce its water use by 20 percent from June 1 through February 2016, and faces fines up to $10,000 per day for noncompliance. 

The City Council’s actions amend the municipal code to emphasize water conservation and prohibit water waste. 

Perhaps most notably, Downey residents are now restricted on when they can water their lawns. Properties with addresses that end in even numbers can water their lawns on Tuesdays, Thursdays and/or Saturdays, while properties ending with an odd number are designated for Mondays, Wednesdays and/or Fridays. 

Watering is limited to no more than three days per week between May and September, and no more than two days per week October through April.

Watering can only occur between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m., and no longer than six minutes per station per designated day.

Landscape irrigation is completely prohibited within 48 hours of measurable rainfall. Residents and businesses are also prohibited from using water to wash sidewalks, driveways and patios. 

Swimming pools can still be drained and refilled between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., although the city discourages the practice. New and reconstructed pools and spas are required to have covers. 

Cars can still be washed in private driveways, but only if the hose is equipped with a shut-off nozzle.

To ensure compliance, city officials said they will use “all means necessary” to track residents’ water use. 

“The City may monitor water usage by all means necessary to ensure compliance including but not limited to: visual inspection, camera, video, and more meter and water usage monitoring via radio, cellular tower, and/or satellite,” public works director Mohammad Mostahkami wrote in a report to council members. 

City officials also warned they have authority to install flow restriction devices at properties that do not adhere to the new water conservation guidelines. The city’s Code Enforcement department can also issue administrative fines for non-compliance. 

In the coming weeks the City Council is expected to review design standards for artificial turf, which is not currently approved for use in Downey.