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Water restrictions: Who’s going to enforce them?

Posted: July 16, 2014 8:12 p.m.
Updated: July 16, 2014 8:12 p.m.

While California’s top water agency determined Tuesday that water-wasters are going to face stiff fines, the enforcement of those new regulations falls to local agencies, officials said Wednesday.

Water-wasting fines are to enforced by local agencies, state water board spokesman George Kostyrko said Wednesday.

And if those agencies don’t cooperate, they, too, could face fines.

“We would likely be involved in cease-and-desist orders with agencies that don’t follow the emergency regulations,” Kostyrko said. “And (they) risk a $10,000-a-day fine under a cease-and-desist order.”

The state Water Resources Control Board approved strict emergency regulations Tuesday. They prohibit watering landscape to the point that runoff spills onto sidewalks or streets. Hosing down sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces would be banned, along with washing vehicles without a shut-off nozzle.

Violations would be infractions punishable by fines up to $500 a day.

“Any person with law enforcement authority, such as a police officer, deputy sheriff, or a water district ‘water cop,’ can issue citations to residents who are violating the regulations,” said Tim Moran, a water board spokesman. “They have the discretion of issuing a first-time warning or a monetary fine of up to $500.

“Most of the money collected in those fines will stay with the local agency.”

Steve Cole, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee and general manager of Newhall County Water District, said the committee is likely to meet soon to “discuss options.”

Those options, he said, involve “reviewing the emergency regulations in their entirety, including what type of enforcement options are feasible.

“The emergency regulations were not very heavy on the details,” Cole said. “All the parties — water agencies, city and county — will be meeting soon to discuss the regulations and how to move forward with their implementation locally.”

Dan Masnada, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, said the task is likely to fall to the valley’s water retailers: Valencia Water, Santa Clarita Water Division, Newhall County Water District and county Waterworks District 36.

“Despite our outreach to encourage conservation,” Masnada said, “we’re a bit above last year’s (conservation levels) because of the extremely dry and warm conditions year-to-date.” He noted January 2014 was the driest January on record.

“The bottom line is that conservation is happening but is being more than offset by the extremely dry conditions in combination with some growth and the economic recovery,” he said.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




lars1: Posted: July 17, 2014 12:02 a.m.

80% of our water is used by farmers.

SingleMomOfOne: Posted: July 17, 2014 1:13 a.m.

Ill have no problem calling and reporting the endless car washing in my HOA...some weekends its like a cottage industry with some people...

ricketzz: Posted: July 17, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Good point. How does this affect mobile detailers? Do we have to wash the car on the lawn? If we can't get the pavement wet I'm assuming we have to use the lawn. I am making a 20% reduction.

bobforte: Posted: July 17, 2014 10:00 a.m.

"Hosing down sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces would be banned, along with washing vehicles without a shut-off nozzle."

All mobile detailers use a shut off valve so it wouldn't affect them.

hexrays: Posted: July 17, 2014 10:51 a.m.

There was nothing on the web site when I checked yesterday regarding restrictions at

chefgirl358: Posted: July 17, 2014 11:30 a.m.

Well whoever is going to enforce this really needs to start with the post office at Creekside. That place has sprinklers running 12 hours a day, I swear the parking lot and sidewalks are soaked constantly and the sprinklers are almost always on. The grass is so oversatured it's like walking through a marsh, and it's been run that way for YEARS. I had to go there twice the other day, the sprinklers were on when I got there and had been for awhile because everything was drenched, then I went back two hours later, and guess what, they were STILL on! And the Newhall Ranch project to build 20,000 homes...needs to be stopped, along with the other huge housing project in Fort Tejon. According to everyone involved with those projects, there's plenty of water to sustain all of those people and homes. The city needs to stop putting center medians all over town complete with trees and plants that need a lot of water, and I had better see Bridgeport Lake and the shopping center across the street from it (the evaporation rate along has to be tremendous!) bone dry, along with every golf course in town. THEN I'll worry about cutting back on my piddly little car washing. --edited.

projalice11: Posted: July 17, 2014 11:35 a.m.

"Water restrictions: Who’s going to enforce them?"


LosRubios: Posted: July 17, 2014 12:22 p.m.

Maybe the LASD who retired after shooting his gun at the kids who knocked on his door and ran off can apply for a job as a water cop. Since he's no longer allowed to carry a gun, they could arm him with a water pistol and allow him to carry a super soaker in his patrol car just in case things get out of hand.....

missyJk: Posted: July 17, 2014 12:40 p.m.

hahaha that is funny the sheriffs, cops, CHP on "desk duty" due to investigations can be armed with water pistols and supersoakers that is the funniest thing i have read

Sam2222: Posted: July 17, 2014 2:00 p.m.

Don't worry about watering your lawn. We have the option of having Newhall Ice come to your home and covering your yard with snow. --edited.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: July 17, 2014 2:20 p.m.

Agree with Chefgirl.

And... stop number two? Try that enormous field at Summit Park that is constantly kept like a wet marsh. Go ahead and cross the middle of that grass on ANY given day... your feet will sink in. I can't even imagine how much water is hitting that field. Who gets fined for that?

tpaul: Posted: July 17, 2014 7:04 p.m.

AND---> every winter it is raining outside and the sprinklers on timers are running. Happens in my HOA every year.

projalice11: Posted: July 18, 2014 12:57 a.m.

"Every winter it is raining outside and the sprinklers on timers are running."

Not when you have a weather detector **

ricketzz: Posted: July 18, 2014 10:00 a.m.

Lars: "80% of our water is used by farmers".

We are responsible for the other 20%. How much water does Big Oil use every day to wrench the last drop of oil out of our parched hills?

chefgirl358: Posted: July 18, 2014 10:26 a.m.

Lois, that's the whole point...the city doesn't use weather detectors on their sprinklers, they waste a ton of water. Every time it has been pouring rain, I see sprinklers going all over town WHILE it's raining, by Henry Mayo and all along Newhall Ranch Road to name a few. It's ridiculous.

Should people be allowed to fill their swimming pools? My HOA has 3 pools, they should probably drain and shut down at least 2 of them. I just think if they are asking the average homeowner to really really cut back hardcore, then they should be cracking down on the obvious things that use the most water throughout the city and swimming pools are a big one.

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