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The Los Angeles City Council approved changes Tuesday to the watering plan it adopted last week, allowing residents to water their lawns and gardens three days a week.
The changes came in response to concerns from the Jewish community that members are not allowed to water on the Saturday, which is the Jewish Sabbath. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, authored the motion calling for the changes, which passed unanimously.
“We received some calls, particularly from the Orthodox Jewish community, that they wouldn’t be able to water on the third day,” Koretz said. “It’s a pretty logical change that recognizes their need.”
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) had proposed changes to the current water rationing program to address pipe ruptures caused by fluctuations in pressure. The city council approved a three day a week program that would have people at odd and even addresses watering on different days, but would add an extra watering day on the weekend to prevent lawns and gardens from dying. Although the exact days of the week have not been finalized, the council on Tuesday tentatively changed the days to Monday, Wednesday and Friday for even numbered addresses, and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for odd numbered addresses. The plan will now be considered by the DWP Board of Commissioners, which will meet next on July 20.
Rabbi Daniel Korobain, of the Yavneh Hebrew Academy, said the changes were necessary because Judaism stipulates that members cannot use any mechanical devices on the Sabbath, or perform any work. Many Orthodox Jews strictly adhere to the practice.
“There are a number of things Orthodox Jews don’t do on the Sabbath, and one of them is cultivation of agriculture. We’re not allowed to water plants,” Korobain said. “We were seeking to have scattered days of watering between Sunday and Friday, with Saturday excluded. Everybody wants to be able to have a green lawn, but they don’t want to compromise their values.”
Stanley Treitel, of United Housing and Community Services, a Jewish community provider located on La Brea Avenue, said he had received many complaints from members of the local Orthodox Jewish community about the previous watering schedule.
“I got a number of calls from people in the community. There was quite a bit of concern,” Treitel said. “I called Paul Koretz’s office, and once the councilmember explained the situation to the other people of the council, the decision was made.”
Koretz said the latest plan will address the fluctuation in pressure in pipes, while still allowing residents an extra day to water. Under the city council’s proposal, watering would be limited to eight minutes on each of the three watering days, compared to 15 minutes per watering day with the system currently in place. The six-minute reduction in watering times is expected to save more water. Koretz represents a district where many of the water main breaks occurred last year, including one in Studio City that caused a sinkhole.
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