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California’s drought restrictions on wasteful water habits could be coming back — this time they’ll be permanent

By in Press Enterprise on February 13, 2018

By Steve Scauzillo

Anyone caught wasting water in California may be fined as much as $500 under new rules being considered by the state water board, officials said Monday.

The State Water Resources Control Board is expected to adopt regulation coming before the board on Feb. 20 that would make it a crime to commit any of seven wasteful water practices — from lawn over watering to street median irrigation. Those rules would take effect April 1.

“These are permanent prohibitions on wasteful water uses,” said Max Gomberg, a climate and conservation manager for the state board. The ruling would formally make the rules part of the state code.

This means the powerful agency would no longer need a “drought emergency” declaration from the governor to act, like the ones issued by Gov. Jerry Brown during the state drought between 2012 and 2017.

Acting on Brown’s orders, the board in July 2014 adopted mandatory monthly conservation requirements for every city and urban retail water agency in the state. The rules took effect in May 2015

Those that routinely missed the mark were sent warnings or were fined. A ban on wasteful water practices also was included. The result of the orders was an almost 25 percent drop in water use statewide.

But plentiful rain and snow fell mostly in Northern California in the winter of 2016-2017, filling reservoirs to overflowing and piling up the snow pack in the Sierra, key sources of more than 30 percent of Southern California’s water supply.

Brown declared the drought over in April last year. The regulations — including laws against wasteful water practices — expired on Nov. 25.

The new rules would outlaw, in perpetuity, the following practices:

  • Over watering lawns in which water flows into the street
  • Washing down driveways and sidewalks
  • Washing your car using a hose without an automatic shutoff nozzle
  • Running an […]    

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