The LA City Council recommended a three-day water rationing scheduled Tuesday in an effort to avoid problems like burst pipes and fire engine-eating sinkholes.
The panel rejected a proposal to change the two-day water rationing schedule so that residents in odd-numbered homes can turn their sprinklers on different days than residents in even-numbered homes.
The rules were developed in the wake of last year's series of pipe breaks.
Instead of adopting the proposal, which was endorsed by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the council voted instead to recommended a three-day water rationing schedule.
"(We should) ask for a three-day a week water scheme, which would be odd and even, and limit (watering) to eight minutes a day rather than the 15 minutes a day, which will actually save water for Los Angeles," said Councilman Greig Smith, who previously admitted defying the current ordinance to keep his lawn from turning brown.
Under the current Emergency Water Conservation ordinance, all DWP customers can water their lawns for up to 15 minutes every Monday and Thursday, and only before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
The Board of Water and Power voted in May to recommend changing the rationing schedule after an independent study found that limiting the use of sprinklers to Mondays and Thursdays was a major factor in the 101 water pipe breaks reported from July through September last year -- double the usual number for that time period.
A team of experts led by Jean-Pierre Bardet, chairman of USC's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, concluded the rationing schedule created drastic changes in water pressure that put stress on corroded cast-iron pipes and caused them to break, leading to severe flooding in several areas of the city.
Bardet had warned that unless the rationing schedule is changed soon, there would be another rash of pipeline breaks this summer, when water usage is expected to be higher.
"These weak links (in the pipes) keep appearing, and they are here now, and they are ready to break and create another rash in the summer if we don't prevent the (pressure) fluctuations," he told the board in May.
DWP officials were skeptical of Bardet's conclusions at first, saying, "The model presented is simplistic as noted by the author. The explanation provided is certainly possible or contributory, but is not tested to the level of definitive or conclusive."
Later, however, the senior assistant general manager for DWP's water system, James McDaniel, agreed that changing the rationing schedule "would reduce the magnitude of pressure fluctuations throughout the DWP water distribution system while still providing the necessary water conservation levels."