BEVERLY HILLS—On Wednesday, September 2, the Beverly Hills City Council voted to approve amendments to the Stage D emergency water conservation ordinance that was passed in May.

The changes will now allow limited exterior washing of cars and buildings under certain circumstances; previously, all washing of cars and buildings was prohibited.

The reasoning behind this slight decrease on water restrictions amidst the state’s drought is “to make use of best management practices in water-saving technology and allow residents and businesses to clean vehicles and buildings and give options to local businesses that provide car washing services,” states a press release issued by Therese Kosterman, the Public Information Manager for the City of Beverly Hills.

The original ordinance mandated a 30 percent water reduction for Beverly Hills, which was released at the same time that the State Water Resources Control Board mandated multiple cuts in cities throughout California. These statewide cutes ranged between 4 and 36 percent, depending on the specific city’s water consumption rates. Beverly Hills was issued a mandatory reduction of 36 percent water usage.

The specific conditions that will allow buildings and sidewalks to be washed include: one washing per month for retail buildings, two washings or less per year for office and commercial buildings and for buildings involved in food service, no amount more than is necessary to comply with health laws and regulations is allowed.  Residential buildings can be washed once per year only for the purpose of preparing them to be painted. All buildings must use reclaimed water systems to do the washing.

For vehicles, the only circumstances that allow washing are as follows: using a system that collects the runoff water, treats it and reuses it for nonpotable uses,  the instance that an alternative plan is approved in writing by the Director of Public Works that demonstrates less than five gallons of water use per vehicle or if frequent washing is necessary for the health and welfare of the public, such as the cleaning of garbage trucks or trucks transporting food.

The City of Beverly Hills website provides suggestions, guidelines and information regarding the city’s current water conservation efforts, possible fines for water usage, restrictions on specific buildings or properties and more.

For more information on the new ordinance, residents are asked to please call Public Works Customer Service at (310) 285-2467.