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Catalina Island braces for water rationing

AVALON, Calif. (AP) -- Santa Catalina Island is bracing for water rationing this summer, and perhaps even more severe restrictions in the fall that could have a devastating effect on its tourism industry.

Starting in July, the island's 2,200 Southern California Edison ratepayers will have to cut water use by 25 percent, or face penalties on their bills, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

If drought conditions continue, Edison warned it could be forced to reduce water usage by 50 percent in November.

Business leaders said if that happens, restaurants may have to serve meals on paper and plastic plates, cups and utensils and hotels may have to turn away customers.

Tourism to the 75-square-mile island has risen in the last four years since a zip line and new museum exhibits were added. More than a half a dozen projects are underway or planned in the harbor community of Avalon, including a museum, hotel and spa scheduled to open in July.

Currently, Edison is restricting ratepayers from washing streets, piers, parking lots and driveways.

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