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Burbank residents face mandatory water restrictions and utility rate hikes

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- A green lawn gets watered on South Keystone Street in Burbank July 24, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — A green lawn gets watered on South Keystone Street in Burbank July 24, 2014

As the summer temperatures soar into the 90s, Burbank residents are being pressured to cutback on water. Last January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a Drought State of Emergency after three extremely dry years. The governor’s order called for “… Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.” Earlier this month, the California State Water Board reportedly adopted emergency regulations requiring water suppliers like the City of Burbank to implement mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use, effective the first of August.

Then last Tuesday, the Burbank City Council voted unanimously to activate  stage 2 of the Burbank Sustainable Water Use Ordinance, which restricts watering of landscape to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and for no more than 15 minutes per station. These new restrictions kick in on the first of next month. In a news release, the general manager of Burbank Water and Power, Ron Davis, assured residents their lawns will survive the restrictions: “Three days a week works.  We proved that in the last drought when this schedule was required in Burbank and we didn’t see brown lawns.  It’s a waste to send us your money for water that’s not really needed, and needlessly use up the water we have in storage.”

Hmm, I wonder if Davis has driven through the neighborhoods of Burbank lately. If so, he would see a lot of brown lawns or dirt front yards, even before the new regulations take effect.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- A brown lawn in the 400 block of South Griffith Park Drive in Burbank July 22, 1014

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — A brown lawn in the 400 block of South Griffith Park Drive in Burbank July 22, 1014

Then there are the residents who’ve tried to cut their water bill costs by replacing their lawns with drought tolerant plants or even incorporating rocks into their landscape.

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Alternative landscape at a home in the 500 block of South Griffith Park Drive in Burbank July 23, 2014

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G — Alternative landscape at a home in the 500 block of South Griffith Park Drive in Burbank July 23, 2014

No matter. Your water rates and those of other Burbank users went up this month, as part of a hike in utility rates approved by the city council a few weeks ago. The water rate increased 4.75%, sewer 2.5%, refuse 2.5%, and electricity $2.9%. The new rates will appear on the August bill.

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