LA Emergency Drought Response Executive Directive

Requiring city departments to reduce water by 10-20% by 2017 (Emergency Drought Response Executive Directive), 2014




The drought will cost California $2.7 billion and 21,000 jobs. In 2015, 92% of California suffered from extreme drought.

Imported water is costly and at immediate and long term risk because of the impacts of global warming, which include a reduction in the Sierra snowpack, the key water supplier for much of California.  And if Los Angeles has an earthquake, it could sever the aqueducts that deliver water.

As California entered the third year of a record-breaking drought in October 2014, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti enacted the Emergency Drought Response Executive Directive to require city departments to:

  • Restrict irrigation with potable water at City buildings and street medians to no more than two days per week.
  • Present a plan to convert 85% of public golf course acreage to recycled water by 2017 and convert feasible street medians to low and no water use landscaping.
  • Report on the feasibility of converting all City car washing facilities to use 100% recirculated water.
  • Replace turf at appropriate city buildings.
  • Increase rebates for residential turf removal to $3.75 per square foot for the first 1,500 square feet of turf, and for rain barrels to $100 per barrel.

It also asks residents to voluntarily:

  • Reduce outdoor watering to two days.
  • Replace turf lawns with native and climate-appropriate landscaping during the optimal Fall/Winter planting season.
  • Install low-flow fixtures and appliances.
  • Put covers on pools to reduce water evaporation.

If the city does not reduce water use by 20% by 2017, the city will require:

  • Outdoor watering to two days a week (or fewer if necessary).
  • Covering and/or prohibiting filling of residential swimming pools with potable water.
  • Requiring all car washing to take place at commercial car washes with recirculating water.


It is an integrated short- and long-term water strategy.


To ensure Los Angeles survives the drought by using and securing more local water responsibly.


The new city Water Cabinet ensures that City agencies are accountable. It includes:

  1. Deputy Mayor for City Services (Chair)
  2. Chief Sustainability Officer
  3. General Manager, Department of Water and Power
  4. Director, Bureau of Sanitation
  5. Senior Assistant General Manager, Water System, Department of Water and Power
  6. Assistant Director, Bureau of Sanitation
  7. General Manager, Department of Recreation and Parks
  8. One City representatives to the Metropolitan Water District
  9. One Proposition 0 Citizens Advisory Oversight Committee member


To reduce per capita potable water use by 20% by 2017 and reduce the Department of Water and Power’s purchase of imported potable water by 50% by 2024.


Susana Reyes, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Team- Budget and Innovation, Office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, (213) 473-2385,


September 19, 2015