The Great Drought Is Officially Over, So Why Can't We Water Our Lawns?

Water content of the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains is 165 percent of normal.

The Great Drought is over. Yes, it's official.

Word leaked out last Tuesday when the Metropolitan Water District's Jeffrey Kightlinger bubbled in bureaucrat-speak:

"The welcome storms this winter have eased short-term water management challenges as we continue to advance a historic long-term solution to the water system/ecosystem crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.''

In people-speak, that means there's plenty of water for current needs.

And with a torrent of expectation, Gov. Jerry Brown stepped forward the next day to announce that the water content of the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains is 165 percent of normal, and reservoirs are near capacity.

He gushed: "I, Edmund G. Brown Jr., governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the State of California, do hereby proclaim the drought to be at an end."

Yet Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in place in Los Angeles.

"And despite a population increase of over one million people, we are now using less water today than we did 30 years ago,'' he said. "We will continue to stay the course on our current, effective conservation efforts."

So water rationing continues. Better haul out those calendars because residents at odd-numbered addresses can only irrigate their lawns on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and those in even-numbered addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. And there are special rules as to what time of day to water.  And folks with 1/2 or any fraction in their addresses have another watering-day rule.

An earlier set of conservation restrictions was so onerous that District 12 Councilman Greig Smith said, to heck with this, and he watered as often as needed to keep his lawn from turning tinder dry, no matter what the mayor and the Department of Water and Power (DWP) decreed. And he pushed through revisions.

But if you're not a councilman, beware, because the DWP's 'Water Conservation Team' will continue to patrol neighborhoods to enforce the water-main busting  rationing schedule. If the spies catch you, violations can result in fines ranging from $100 to $600. And feuding neighbors can rat you out by calling the 1-800-DIAL-DWP hotline.

So remember as the sun bakes your greenery brown, the governor says there's plenty of water.  And as your horses are thirsting, the mayor says we Angelenos are using less aqua than 30 years ago, despite a rising population.

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Yvette Roman April 06, 2011 at 07:42 PM
You have got to be kidding with this. Fresh water is one of the most precious things on the planet. Why on earth would you choose to encourage anything but conservation of ANY of our resources...we are actually in a CONSTANT state of drought, being that we import a vast amount of our water from other states, and it is just plain irresponsible to forget that we essentially live in a desert that has been paved over and reinvented to look like something else.
Christopher McKinnon April 06, 2011 at 07:54 PM
The definition of "drought" may need to be changed depending on the region, topography, local water available (not transported) and may have to be adapted to average water/snowpack over ten year periods not 1 year to year. We live in a desert! I guess we will have to educate the kids more and save more water that adults like the author may feel the right to waste.
Kelly Hartog April 06, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Thanks to everyone for weighing in on this. Just a note about the writer. As you all clearly point out, the drought issue is one that affects us all, whether we're in Chatsworth or Mar Vista. Writers certainly don't have to live in Mar Vista to write for Mar Vista Patch. As Patch editors our articles are often cross-posted on various Patch sites if they affect more than one community. Saul's piece (which is clearly posted as an opinion piece), has run on several local Patch sites, and I'm delighted that the wonderful Mar Vista community is responding to the piece, once again highlighting both the passion and knowledge in this great neighborhood!
Sherri Akers April 08, 2011 at 01:41 PM
We hope that people will join us on the MarVistaGreenGardenShowcase.com to see just how incredible your garden can be using very little water!
Christy Wilhelmi April 11, 2011 at 06:05 PM
When Mono Lake is full to the brim once again, then I'll believe the drought is over. Given that that may never happen, I'm sticking with my conservation and mindful watering ways.


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