Local authorities poised to slap water wasters with hefty fines

Local authorities poised to slap water wasters with hefty fines

Struggling to conserve water in the midst of third consecutive parched summer, California is poised to slap water wasters with hefty fines of up to $500 per day.

Under emergency water conservation rules that the California Water Resources Control Board will consider next week, drenching lawn or washing a car with a nozzle-less hose would be among the violations that would attract penalties.

If approved by the state legislature, the new regulations would take effect on August 1 this year. It would be the first time when the state would impose binding restrictions and fines on residential outdoor water use.

Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the Water Resources Control Board, said, "Having a dirty car and a brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community. We don't know when it will rain again. It's prudent to act as if it won't."

Marcus also asked people to prepare for further restrictions, saying the board would consider more stringent measures if it does not rain later this fall.

The Golden State is suffering severe dry conditions for the third year in a row, which forced the state water distribution authorities to cut supplies to farmers, business as well as households. Frequent wildfires throughout the state have been adding salt to the wound.

At local levels, mandatory and voluntary restrictions could reduce water use by just 5 per cent through May this year. The figure is well short of the 20 per cent sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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