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Pasadena In Focus
March - April 2011

Water Supply will be Cut by 40 Percent

 The Pasadena City Council has called a Level 4 Water Shortage emergency for March 18 to 27. During those 10 days, and possibly longer, Pasadena’s water supply will be cut by 40 percent due to the temporary shutdown of a major regional water pipeline. The only way to ensure that our limited supply is saved for health and hygiene is to stop all outdoor landscape irrigation.
Everyone in Pasadena is required to follow these mandatory restrictions on water use during the shutdown:

  • No outdoor landscape watering of any kind, including use of sprinklers, smart controllers, hose, drip irrigation and watering cans (see below for rare exceptions).
  • Leaks must be fixed within 24 hours.
  • No filling of lakes, ponds, pools or spas.
  • No new water service.

To prepare for the water shortage emergency:

  • Plan ahead: Reschedule or postpone landscaping and construction projects.
  • Tell your gardener, family, friends and co-workers about the water shortage emergency.
  • Store jugs of water as back-up for indoor use and for potted and delicate plants. 
  • From March 11 to 17, water lawns and plants thoroughly, on any day (unless it rains), then cover garden beds with mulch to protect them during the watering ban.
  • Mark your calendar to turn off your automatic sprinkler system on March 17 and keep it off until the shutdown ends.
  • As always, conserve water indoors.
  • Stay informed! Check for city council action and daily updates during the shutdown atwww.cityofpasadena.net/shutdown or call 744-8888.

Why is the pipeline being shut down?

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which supplies about 60 percent of Pasadena’s water, is planning a seismic upgrade of its Weymouth Treatment Plant in LaVerne. MWD will stop all water deliveries through its Foothill Upper Feeder water pipeline (serving Pasadena and neighboring cities) while it performs the retrofit. 

How much water will Pasadena have during the shutdown and where will it come from?

Pasadena will have to rely solely on its own groundwater and reserves. Pasadena Water and Power will fill its 14 reservoirs with about 80 million gallons of local groundwater and MWD-imported water. As these reserves fall, PWP can replenish with up to seven million gallons of groundwater per day pumped from city wells. All told, Pasadena can count on 150 million gallons during the shutdown.

How much water does our community usually use, and how much do we need to conserve?

During a typical March, PWP customers use nearly 250 million gallons over a 10-day period. During the shutdown we’ll have only 150 million gallons, so we’ll need to use 40 percent less to stretch our supply. The only way to achieve this is a temporary ban on outdoor watering.

Will there be any exceptions to the watering ban?

All methods of watering with city water, including by hand, hose, drip, manual and automatic sprinklers, are strictly prohibited at all times during the shutdown. However, you may use store-bought water jugs or your personal reserve of tap water (filled and stored before the shutdown). 

Other rare exceptions to the watering ban are for maintenance of active public parks, athletic fields, school grounds, golf course greens and day care centers; edible gardens and fruit-bearing trees; protected species; fire protection and soil erosion zones; and environmental mitigation projects.

Will watering restrictions be enforced?

City staff will patrol for violations, respond to reports of water waste and issue fines for repeat violations in accordance with Pasadena’s water shortage ordinance.

In the week before the shutdown, will I get fined for watering more than usual?
Due to these exceptional circumstances, PWP will temporarily ease enforcement of the current water shortage rules from March 11 to 17. You may water on any day that week and as much as you see fit (unless it rains) to prepare your landscaping for the watering ban March 18 to 27.

What should I do if I see someone watering during the shutdown?

It’s crucial that everyone comply. Please report any outdoor water waste to our Water Shortage Hotline at 744-8888 or at www.cityofpasadena.net/savewater

Could the number of days of the shutdown change?

MWD anticipates a shutdown of up to 10 days. However, as with all major construction projects, there could be delays that extend the shutdown. Check for daily updates at www.cityofpasadena.net/shutdown or hear recorded updates at 744-8888. 

If it rains in March, will Pasadena be able to lift the restrictions early?

Rainfall doesn’t recharge our usable water supply until many months after a storm, so it won’t make up for lack of supply during the shutdown. 

If it’s very hot and dry during the shutdown and my plants are suffering, will Pasadena lift the restrictions?

Even if it’s hot and dry, there will be no contingency water supply for outdoor irrigation. We will have enough water for drinking and everyday uses from March 18 to 27. Before the shutdown, be sure to water and mulch, and fill and store water jugs from your tap.

Will there be restrictions on indoor water use?

No, but due to these unusual critical circumstances, PWP recommends that everyone take extra measures to conserve indoors.