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California Considers Mandatory Water Restrictions

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California’s Water Resources Control Board will meet on Tuesday (July 15) to vote on mandatory restrictions on urban water use, backed up by hefty fines.

Though a number of cities, including Los Angeles, already have such regulations in place, most don’t. So the State Water Resources Control Board is going to give them a push.

“Many urban Californians don’t realize how bad a drought the state is in,” said board chair Felicia Marcus. “It is a mistake to think they are not at risk.”

The emergency drought regulations will ban wasteful outdoor watering, hosing down sidewalks and driveways, the use of drinking water in fountains and washing a car without a cutoff nozzle.

The rules will give local agencies the authority to impose fines of up to $500 a day on scofflaws.

“What we’re saying is every community should do something about outdoor irrigation,” said Marcus.  “What these regulations propose is that not everyone kills off their lawns, but at a minimum people don’t over-water.”

A recent board survey found that statewide water use had declined just five per cent since the beginning of 2014, when Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency and asked citizens to voluntarily cut water use by 20 per cent.

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