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Mayor Orders Water Curbs in Home Use

December 09, 1987|KEVIN RODERICK | Times Staff Writer

Mayor Tom Bradley today ordered an emergency citywide ban on hosing of driveways and midday lawn watering as part of a crash water conservation plan to prevent overflows from the troubled Los Angeles sewer system.

Restaurants in Los Angeles would be forbidden from serving water to patrons who do not ask for it and the use of water in decorative fountains would be banned unless the water is recycled.

The mayor also proposed a cap on new construction in Los Angeles and said he would seek similar controls on development in the 30 independent cities and unincorporated areas that use the Los Angeles sewer system.

In three cities that now generate more sewage than their contracts allow--Santa Monica, Burbank and San Fernando--Los Angeles will try to force a moratorium on all new growth, Bradley said.

'An Aggressive Program'

"It's a bold program, it's an aggressive program, yet it's a prudent program and one I think we can all live with," Bradley said at a news conference with state Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica), a past critic of the mayor who said he fully supports Bradley's plan.

City Council approval is needed for some of the steps sought by the mayor, but the city's attorneys were still trying to decide this afternoon how much authority Bradley needs to put his plan in effect.

The conservation measures, similar to those imposed during a severe drought in the Western states in 1977 and '78, are designed to reduce the flow of waste through the sewers to the Hyperion treatment plant near El Segundo.

Capacity Load Feared

City engineers fear that Hyperion and two other treatment plants that share the sewage load will come perilously close to capacity before 1991 if water use in the Los Angeles Basin continues to increase.

In 1991, city engineers said, an expansion of the Tillman treatment plant in Van Nuys that will forestall the threat of overflows will be finished.

Meanwhile, limits on new construction in Los Angeles would be imposed by the director of building and safety if it appears that sewage flow in any single month continues to increase faster than the system can handle it.

The Board of Public Works, appointed by Bradley, would have the power to impose even stricter controls on growth if city engineers considered them necessary.

Priority for Housing

In months when the city stops issuing building permits, priority will be given to housing projects for low- and middle-income residents over new office buildings and industries, Bradley said.

He said the city would also require all office buildings, apartments and industrial plants to have special water-saving devices installed within six months or face a surcharge on their water bills.

Owners of single-family homes would be ordered to install low-flow shower heads and devices that reduce water flow through toilets. A city ordinance already requires such devices before a home can be sold.

Hayden announced simultaneously that he is dropping plans to qualify a citywide referendum to force Los Angeles to reduce the sewage it generates.

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