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Paul Zimmerman
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Emergency Drought Order could Impact Your Restaurant

On October 14, 2014, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued Executive Order 5 to address the drought and the city’s use of imported water.

Under the directive, fresh water use will be cut by 20% by 2017 and calls for a 50% reduction in the Department of Water and Power’s (DWP's) purchase of expensive imported water by 2024. The Order additionally mandates that City departments decrease the amount of water used for lawns and landscaping. Garcetti’s order also puts restrictions on water usage on everything from car washes to golf courses to kitchens.

In light of the new order, restaurants should be conscious of water usage in the back of the house. Restaurants should be especially mindful of leakage and/or inefficient equipment (dishwashers, etc.). Restaurants should be further mindful of water distribution to customers, and anticipate ways to handle reactions should you not provide or charge for water. Also, you should be cognizant of the potential for inherited costs associated with water vis-à-vis your landlord and thus understand terms in your lease addressing this issue, i.e. Net-Net-Net (NNN) or Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges. Lastly, look out for any potential impact stemming from health code adjustments or other regulatory issues caused by Executive Order 5.

This article is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.