The Mayor’s Office considered some big changes to its now-shelved water-cuts plan earlier this year as it encountered a City Council that was somewhat dubious of the plan.

They were never unveiled publicly, but were considered internally after the mayor’s team met in April with Councilwoman Donna Frye. The proposals were contained in an e-mail obtained through a public records request.

The water-cuts plan has been put on the shelf, as the region’s water cut from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District was lower than expected. Instead of requiring residents to cut consumption 5 percent indoors and 45 percent outdoors based on their historic use, the city has instead adopted designated landscape watering days.

Among the ideas considered:

  • Boosting the percentage of outdoor conservation required from some larger residential users from 45 percent to 55 percent or 65 percent depending on their consumption. The city considered whether that would allow an increase the number of water misers who’d be exempt.
  • Developing a web-based calculator for households to determine how much water they should be using given the number of occupants and their plant types. The city currently has something similar for landscapes. (The calculator is apparently offline until July 1.)
  • Allowing customers to bank credit if they saved more water than required.
  • Household water audits instead of fines.
  • Creating incentives for residents to save below their requirement.

One bullet point in the e-mail from Alex Ruiz, the city Water Department’s assistant director, didn’t have an immediate answer. He wrote, “Need to address the growth issue — why are we letting people build during a water crises? (sic)”


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