San Diego City Council Imposes New Water Restrictions

Just when San Diegans thought they were doing enough to save water, the city’s upping the ante.

While a Level 2 drought alert is still in effect, the San Diego City Council has just opted to impose elements of Level 3 – even though the state isn’t considering issuing new restriction guidelines until next month.

A landscape architects’ association had recommended that the council hold off until then, to no avail.

So homeowners are looking at a substantial cutback in yard watering, except for those with high-tech irrigation systems that better disperse and reduce flow.

Landscaping days will drop from three to two on an odd-even address basis -- for five minutes per "station," meaning sprinkler arrays and hose connections.

As severe as things already are, city officials say the added stress of less water won't necessarily mean that lawns and shrubbery will wind up dying.

"It depends on the type of turf, on the location, how much shade it gets, whether it's smack in the middle of the sun or not and the soil type,” Public Utilities Director Halla Razak told NBC 7. “I can't specifically say that everybody's turf will be doing fine."

Car washing will be limited to the hours between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m., and ornamental fountains can only be run for the purpose of keeping the pumps and related equipment from deteriorating – although no specific guidelines were issued.

According to homeowners interviewed Monday by NBC 7, a lot neighborhood lawns are going brown – or are on their way out.

"I've seen one neighbor now that has had a beautiful Bermuda grass yard that he used to hand-trim,” said San Carlos resident Chuck Davis. “He's now having paving put in. It's less work for him. He may love it, but he took pride in his yard."

Kensington resident Gaye Friedman said her husband has been resisting several neighbors’ trend of replacing their lawns.

"But I'm slowly putting in succulents, and he hasn't noticed yet," Friedman related with a laugh. "Because that's how we have to do it. We don't have enough water here. And it's sad."

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