updated 3/28/2006 10:51:02 AM ET 2006-03-28T15:51:02

The Las Vegas City Council has banned outdoor water and enacted other, tougher rules in light of a continuing drought.

The north-central community has only two-thirds of its normal water storage, and officials said a few inches of snow last Wednesday weren't nearly enough to solve the problem.

In January, Las Vegas launched Stage 2 conservation measures restricting how much outdoor watering they could do. Those rules also prohibited washing cars at home or filling hot tubs and swimming pools, and restricted car-washing businesses to four days a week.

The new, tougher Stage 3 measures restrict water use at motels, restaurants, laundries, construction companies and car washes. For example, the city is limiting construction companies to using city water only two days a week.

Richard Trujillo, city utilities director, said that if the drought gets worse, Las Vegas could stop all construction activity that uses city water.

"If our storage is depleted, I'll go to the City Council for more restrictions," he said.

City officials also have been talking with the Storrie Lake Water Users Association about leasing water this year, Trujillo said.

Councilman Louie Trujillo suggested it's unfair for Las Vegas residents to have to conserve when wells in surrounding rural areas have no restrictions.

"We would like more cooperation from our neighbors," the councilman said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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