Overwatering your lawn, washing your car without a shut-off nozzle, and using a water fountain that does not recycle the same water could now cost you up to $500 a day in fines in the state of California.
The State Water Resources Control Board approved emergency regulations late last night that allow local law enforcement and water agencies to impose a maximum $500-a-day fine on water wasters. The regulations will take effect Aug. 1, 2014.
State regulators will also be able to fine urban water agencies $10,000 a day if they fail to implement water conservation plans, such as limiting the number of days people can water outdoor landscaping.
California is in its third year of drought conditions and in January Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency, allowing the state to request federal aid. However, despite all of the warnings, and a 20% cutback called for by Gov. Brown, water usage (mostly wasting water on washing cars and driveways) increased by 1% during 2013. These fines are not meant to punish people, per se. It’s mainly being done to make people fully aware of the seriousness of this drought and make them pro-active by not wasting so much water.
People are also being encourage to turn in their neighbors who are wasting water. Does this mean that your neighbors will be spying on you, or looking over your fence to make sure your yard looks dead enough?
In short; Continue wasting water and you’re going to get hosed.
2014 file photo. Photo credit: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press