Amid persistent drought conditions that have shown no signs of letting up, the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners voted Thursday to move to the next level of water restrictions that limit outdoor watering to two days per week.
The last time Long Beach was in Stage 2 of the department’s water shortage plan was in May 2015. Beginning June 1, Long Beach residents will be limited to outdoor irrigation on Tuesdays and Saturdays until September 30.
The rules also require residents to water before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to limit the amount of water lost through evaporation.
Other restrictions already in place will continue, such as a ban on watering outside within 48 hours of rain, washing sidewalks or other hard surfaces without a pressure washer, or washing vehicles with a hose that does not have a stop switch.
Long Beach is not alone in imposing restrictions on water users. Last week, Los Angeles implemented similar restrictions for its customers. Other water agencies have limited outdoor water use to one day per week.
Last month, commissioners debated how the new restrictions would be enforced and what days watering would be allowed, with some worried they would turn residents and department workers into “water cops.”
However, the ministry said it would not focus on fines but would work to educate customers on the new water rules in order to comply.
The changes come as the state appears to be heading for its third straight year of drought and vital reservoirs that supply the state water project and the Colorado River have dropped to historic lows. The State Water Project delivered only 5% of the amounts requested from the water agencies this year.
Long Beach may be more resilient than other agencies because it relies less on imported water — it pumps about 60% of its water from underground wells — but water officials have warned that rules still More stringent may be in effect if dry conditions persist.
In March, Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order directed state water regulators to reduce the amount of water they would supply to water agencies. Newsom’s order also asked local agencies to move to Stage 3 of their water shortage plans if the drought continues into 2023.
A full list of water use restrictions can be found here.
Editor’s note: Department rules regarding watering before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. are mandatory. The story has been updated.
Long Beach commission could still limit waterways during drought