The south substation of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is using water sprinklers on fake grass during the fifth year of the California drought (video below).
A sign the substation states: "We stopped watering the grass to do our part to save water," but KCBS reports the LADWP used taxpayer funds to install a sprinkler system to water the fake grass.
The watering of the fake grass has angered some residents, who have been warned by the LADWP to cut their water use because of the drought affecting the state. More than two dozen homeowners were fined in the first four months of 2016 for wasting water.
"That kind of raises questions," Amber Gordon, a resident near the south substation, told the news station. "They’re quick to fine us for certain things, over-watering or whatever. And just because of the severe drought, I'm like no water at all for my lawn."
KCBS reporter David Goldstein saw sprinklers spraying the fake grass outside the substation, and another area without fake or real grass.
The water flowed down a sidewalk and to the street, which appears to violate this LADWP ordinance: "No customer of the Department shall use water in a manner that causes or allows excess or continuous water flow or runoff onto an adjoining sidewalk, driveway, street, gutter or ditch."
Two other area substations, in Studio City and Los Feliz, also had sprinklers watering fake grass.
"We're not watering the grass," Richard Harasick, director of water operations at the LADWP, told the news station. "We're rinsing it with water to make it more sanitary."
"Just the smelling of the urine and all that," Harasick added. "So, we’re really just trying to wash out dog pee."
LADWP also responded on its website:
At the location that Mr. Goldstein filmed and asked about, residents complained when we initially removed the grass altogether and specifically requested the use of artificial turf, which we installed to be responsive to their requests.
We informed Mr. Goldstein of this and told him it appeared he was trying to do a negative story about something that is entirely permissible and appropriate. He decided to continue with the story. The interview took place two months ago with our Water Operations Director Rich Harasick at our California Friendly garden in front of the LADWP Headquarters. Mr. Goldstein has not contacted LADWP since.
...Contrary to the story aired by KCBS 2, LADWP’s facility watering policies not only comply with the City’s water conservation ordinance--they exceed it. We have turned off sprinklers entirely at properties that still have grass, we are converting ALL of our facility landscaping to California Friendly, drought-tolerant landscaping and have saved tens of millions of gallons of water annually.