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California considers mandatory water restrictions

Posted: July 9, 2014 7:00 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2014 7:00 a.m.
 

The State Water Resources Control Board will consider ordering mandatory restrictions on urban water use, backed up by fines, during its July 15 meeting in Sacramento. If adopted, the emergency regulations would remain in effect for nine months. Prohibited activities would include:

— Watering landscapes to the point that it causes runoff to adjacent property, sidewalks, streets and other areas.

— Using water to wash hard surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways.

— Using a hose to wash a vehicle unless the hose has a shut-off nozzle.

— Using drinking water in a fountain or decorative water features unless the water is recirculated.

Penalties:

— Violations would be infractions punishable by fines of up to $500 each day. However, most cities have a sliding scale that starts with a warning and increases for repeat violations.

— Tickets could be written by any public employee empowered to enforce laws.

— Urban water agencies would be required to implement their water-shortage contingency plans to require mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use, if they haven't done so already.

—Those agencies without a plan would have 30 days to begin requiring their residents to restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days each week or take other mandatory steps to conserve the same amount of water.

— Water suppliers who don't comply could face fines up to $10,000 each day.

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