Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Los Angeles nears water rationing

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With a recent flurry of winter storms doing little to dampen California's latest drought, the nation's biggest public utility voted on Tuesday to impose water rationing in Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two decades.

Under the plan adopted in principle by the governing board of the L.A. Department of Water and Power, homes and businesses would pay a penalty rate -- nearly double normal prices -- for any water they use in excess of a reduced monthly allowance.

The five-member board plans to formally vote on details of the measure next month.

The rationing scheme is expected to take effect in May unless the City Council acts before then to reject it -- a move seen as unlikely since Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for the measure under a water-shortage plan last week.

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