Ordinance changes delay Level 2 vote

Culver City leaders again delayed implementing their own emergency water regulations due to a change to one of the ordinance’s components pertaining to pools and spas.

The council was poised to vote on authorizing Level 2 of its emergency water ordinance on June 22, which had been postponed in March. But after a presentation from representatives of a spa and pool association, city leaders decided to change the language of the regulations regarding pools and spas to require them to be covered as long as the emergency measures are in place.

They agreed in principle to remove the Level 2 prohibition on refilling residential pools and outdoors spas more than one foot of water.

Public Works Director Charles Herbertson thinks having pools covered instead of limiting their refilling could be a more efficient way of conserving water. “This requirement will apply to all the existing pools and spas as well as new ones. If there are many uncovered pools out there and I expect there may be, then requiring pool covers could have a significant impact on water savings at those locations,” he said.

Level 2 limits include reducing watering to two days per week or one day from November to March, requires landlords and homeowners to fix all leaks within 48 hours, no filling or refilling of ornamental lakes or ponds unless it is needed to sustain aquatic life and the aforementioned restrictions on filling pools and spas.

The council will take up the matter again next month.

In a public relations campaign launched earlier this month called “Let’s Pool Together,” the California Pool & Spa Assn. began touting its claim that standard size pools use less water after an initial fill than an irrigated lawn.

The association has also come out against ordinances prohibiting filling spas and pools.

“We’re not saying, ‘Solve the drought, put in a pool,’ but the bottom line is people who put in a pool are making a decision to do something more water efficient with their backyard. They’re saving water,” said California Pool and Spa Association’s President John Norwood, told the Associated Press. “Pools are landscaping.”

Culver City is offering a free bin for residents who wish to remove their front lawns to save on irrigation cost to the first 50 people who apply for them. Golden State Water Co., the major water supplier for most Culver City residences and businesses, is offering turf removal rebates. Applications can be downloaded at http://www.gswater.com/download/mdd_turf_removal_2013.pdf