Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today issued a directive that requires a reduction in city agencies’ fresh water use by 20 percent by 2017 and cuts in half the amount of water the Department of Water and Power can import by 2024.

As part of the new drought-driven measure, Garcetti is ordering city departments to replace lawns and other water-hungry landscapes at city facilities, along street medians and in sidewalk parkways.

The directive also increases DWP incentives for homeowners who replace lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping. The increase, from $3 to $3.75 a square foot, aims to cut residential water consumption in the city.

“We cannot afford the water policies of the past,” Garcetti said. “We must conserve, recycle and rethink how we use our water to save money and make sure that we have enough water to keep Los Angeles going.”

Residential mandates, such as those that create limits on swimming pools and car washing, have not yet been implemented, but they will be, Garcetti said, if targets are not met. Currently, residents are being asked to voluntarily reduce watering to two days a week, to install low-water landscaping and to cover swimming pools to limit evaporation.

Garcetti’s directive also creates a water cabinet, which will be chaired by Deputy Mayor Doane Liu. The cabinet will be responsible for ensuring city departments hit the new water targets, while focusing on long-term water sustainability initiatives.

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