Council Dumps Water Rate Proposal

The plan would encourage water conservation during summer

The Los Angeles City Council rejected a proposal Wednesday to modify water rates in a way that encourages water conservation during the summer months.

Following an hour-long debate, council members said they still have questions on how the plan would work and kicked the issue back to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, which is scheduled to meet again on April 21. 

There was good news and bad news to the proposal: the good news was that anyone who conserved would see no change in their water bills; the bad news was those who didn't would see a 44 percent increase in their bills.

The City Department of Water and Power said that's the point: force a hit in the pocketbook and residents will be included to use less for the good of everyone else.

"To me it's just having your mind set right and just caring," said Los Feliz resident John Kelley.  While the city wants to see residents use at least 15 percent less every month, Kelley says, "I see a lot more waste than 15 percent."

"It's an excellent plan," said eco-friendly contractor Neil Larson.  But he admits he likes the idea because it means more business for him.

"We have to conserve water," he said. "There's no way to grow as a city, as a county and as an economy unless we do conserve water."

LA residents knew this was coming.  In February the DWP warned about it.  Even outside their own building Wednesday, landscapers were changing out certain water-sucking flowers for those that simply sip.

John Kelley doesn't mind.


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"There has to be a line drawn," Kelley said. "I'm sorry we have to conjure up laws to make people aware of doing the right thing."

The City passed an ordinance like this once before.  It was in March, 1991 and it worked: water use fell 25 percent.


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