By Bettina Boxall
March 17, 2015

With California heading into another parched year, state officials Tuesday beefed up emergency drought regulations, directing urban agencies to limit the number of days residents can water their yards.

The move is expected to have little or no effect in most major Southern California cities, which already have watering restrictions. The statewide effects are difficult to gauge, as regulators don’t know how many local agencies lack limits.

In Los Angeles, the state rule “doesn’t change anything,” said Michelle Figueroa, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The city has restricted outdoor watering to three days a week since 2009.

Under emergency drought regulations adopted last summer, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered urban districts to restrict outdoor watering. But the local rules vary, with some cities only banning landscape irrigation during the heat of the day.

“Some are really, really loose,” said water board chair Felicia Marcus, who described Tuesday’s action as “quite modest.”

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