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Guy Adams: Green lawns don't go with water rationing

LA Notebook

There's never been a hosepipe ban in Los Angeles, which speaks volumes for local engineering, given that the city was built on a parched desert several hundred miles from the Colorado River, from which an aqueduct transports water to local swimming pools and car washes.

That's about to change. A notice landed on the city's doormats this week announcing sprinkler systems used by almost every LA household to keep their lawns lush and flowerbeds in bloom are henceforth illegal, except for on Mondays and Thursdays.

Anyone caught violating this new rule faces a punitive fine. It's part of a state-wide effort to cope with a drought that's left water reserves perilously low and contributed to the apocalyptic wildfires that seem to demolish a new suburb of Santa Barbara or Orange County each month.

Angelenos are a law-abiding breed, and I'd expect the new rules to be honoured – especially since authorities have provided anonymous phone lines to dob in neighbours engaged in so-called "water waste".

But some locals face a Catch-22: in a curious piece of bourgeois nanny-statism, many of LA's "Home Owner Associations" – the authorities that manage residential developments – have draconian bylaws requiring residents to keep front lawns properly green.

What these poor souls now do remains to be seen. On a practical note, perhaps a fairer, long-term solution to the drought problem would be for California to find a way to use the enormous patch of water that sits immediately to its left.

Baron Cohen waxes lyrical

Say what you like about Sacha Baron Cohen, he's certainly prepared to suffer for his art. The comedian's half-naked brush with Eminem at this week's MTV awards revealed his once-hairy buttocks are now as smooth as a ripe peach.

The de-fuzzing signifies his transformation from the hairy sling-back thong aficionado, Borat, into the Austrian fashion reporter Bruno, whose film launches next month. Disappointingly, Cohen has yet to reveal whether his new alter ego waxes or shaves.

Oh Stevie, how could you?

Fleetwood Mac made a long-awaited return to LA last week, allowing a fact-finding visit to the cheap seats sideways-on to the stage.

This revealed that Stevie Nicks now benefits from a TV next to her microphone, screening lyrics to Go Your Own Way, Dreams, and all the other old hits.

Ms Nicks is 61, and those years of rocking and rolling have no doubt taken their toll on her memory. But an autocue feels rum: Mac fans are surely entitled to expect better than a glorified version of karaoke.