City to Restrict Outdoor Irrigation in September

First published in the Aug. 6 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank will ban outdoor irrigation for two weeks next month due to a leak in the Colorado River Aqueduct’s upper feeder. During this time, Burbank will not have access to this water source.
The city ordered residents and businesses to adjust their sprinklers and automated irrigation systems, so they do not run during this two-week period from Sept. 6 through 20. Hand watering will be allowed, however.
Burbank has depended on receiving water exclusively from the Colorado River this year.
However, while the leak in the upper feeder is being repaired, Burbank, Glendale, and other Southern California cities must take water from the State Water Project, a network of water infrastructure sourced from Northern California, to compensate for the loss of the Colorado River water.
Southern California is 100% dependent on imported water from the State Water Project and the Colorado River Aqueduct. Both sources are experiencing growing shortages, according to a report from the Metropolitan Water District, or MWD.
Earlier this year, Burbank decided to limit water intake from the State Water Project to ensure adequate water supply to other communities that are solely dependent on this source. The city will temporarily access the source during the two-week period.
Given extreme drought conditions this year, allocations from the State Water Project have been cut to only 5% capacity down from the previous 15% allocation.
As a result, cities in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties that solely rely on the State Water Project saw similar outdoor watering restrictions earlier this year.
“We are fortunate that this is just a two-week issue, and we will be able to return to watering after the upper feeder is repaired. For other communities, this is not the case,” said Jeannine Edwards, assistant general manager of sustainability, marketing and strategy at Burbank Water and Power.
“There are many communities that can only get water from the State Water Project,” she said. “During this time, we are exclusively dependent on this source.”
The Colorado River has served as a drought lifeline for California since the 1920s, according to the UCLA Institute of The Environment and Sustainability. In 2003, California agreed to reduce usage to a smaller allocation. Now, given many consecutive years of drought caused by rising global temperatures, resources in the river have reached alarmingly low levels. Many water sources in the region are below 50% capacity this year.
Last summer, California, Nevada and Arizona agreed to decrease usage from the river again.
In June, California mandated a 35% cut to Southern California water usage for millions of residents as a result of State Water Project’s allocation cuts.
BWP will be enforcing the September watering restrictions to ensure compliance.
“BWP will be monitoring usage via our advanced metering infrastructure and will be sending out daily messages to remind our community of the restriction,” Edwards told the Leader.
“If necessary, BWP has the ability to issue a citation starting at $100 and up to $500 for individuals who do not comply. Our intent is not to make money from this effort and all monies collected from citations will be reinvested in sustainable water-use efforts,” she said.
City officials advise residents and businesses to set reminders to turn off sprinklers and automated irrigation systems.
Additionally, residents can add mulch around shrubs, flower beds and trees to help reduce water evaporation. The Burbank Parks and Recreation Department offers free mulch to Burbank residents.
BWP and MWD are currently offering a variety of rebates and programs to help the community save water. Learn more about these programs on the BWP website at BurbankWaterAndPower.com/drought.
Almost the entire state is under a severe-drought status or worse, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.
“We all have to do our part to help sustain water supplies,” Edwards said.