First published in the Aug. 27 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
Glendale residents and businesses are, like their neighbors in other cities, being asked to further curb their outdoor watering during a 15-day period in September to accommodate a temporary change in water supply.
The policy, which will run Tuesday, Sept. 6, through Tuesday, Sept. 20, is to facilitate the repair of a pipeline operated by the Metropolitan Water District which supplies the bulk of the region’s water via the Colorado River and was found to have developed a significant leak earlier this year. During the repair, MWD will shut off its pipeline and the affected areas will be serviced by the State Water Project, which is normally reserved for health and safety deliveries in service areas experiencing water limitations.
In light of the escalating drought, Glendale Water and Power customers have been limited to twice-a-week lawn watering for much of the year. Once the 15-day no watering schedule ends, those customers will return to the schedule they’d been on.
“We’ve been able to do two-a-week watering because we’ve been getting water from the Colorado River,” explained Michael De Ghetto, GWP’s chief assistant manager for water, in an interview. “We’ve been 100% Colorado River.”
Officials say that two weeks of no watering will not kill a lawn, though the grass will likely start to yellow. Residents are advised to continue their normal watering schedule until the start of this event, and to avoid adding new fertilizer to lawns or gardens until after Sept. 20. People are also advised to not mow their lawns during the 15-day window.
The policy is formally a request, not an ultimatum, and GWP doesn’t plan on conducting any direct enforcement outside of continuing its typical messaging and outreach.
Since the leak was discovered, MWD engineers have installed a temporary fix to the pipeline and operated it on a reduced flow rate. Outside of GWP, the issues also affect the local MWD member agencies Foothill Municipal Water District and Crescenta Valley Water District, as well as the cities of Burbank, Pasadena, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, San Fernando, Torrance and San Marino, among others.
Around 4 million total customers are affected by the request.
“While we do this work, we need people who normally get water from this pipeline to eliminate their outdoor water use to stretch the limited available water supplies,” said MWD Water System Operations Manager Brent Yamaski in a statement. “We don’t take this call lightly, but it is what is needed at this time.”
In gardens, people are advised to add mulch around their plants and to possibly add shade where possible.
Tree owners are also advised to mulch around the tree bases and to deep water them and their last watering day prior to the temporary restrictions. California oak trees do not require summer watering, officials have noted.
For interior water uses, residents are asked to consider being extra thoughtful about what could be wasteful water use, such as taking long showers or leaving the water running while hand-washing dishes. One tip offered is to leave a bucket to collect water while the shower is heating up, and then using the collected water for watering a vegetable garden.
“Don’t waste it or have things run longer than you need to run,” De Ghetto said.
For more information about the shutdown, visit mwdh20.com/shutdown. For additional water-saving tips, visit bewaterwise.com.