Watering your lawn or washing your car may become a lot more expensive. State regulators have approved new fines aimed at water wasters, hoping the penalties will lead to a reduction in water use amid one of the severest droughts in California history.
New data shows that even though Gov. Jerry Brown has asked Californians to cut back on water use by 20 percent earlier this year, overall water consumption actually edged up in May 2014 compared to the previous three Mays.
The State Water Resources Control Board is now authorizing fines of up to $500 for excessive water use, like washing down sidewalks or too much lawn watering. It’s the first time these types of restrictions have been imposed on a statewide level. But a lot of questions remain about how they’ll play out.
"We’re not creating a giant regulatory scheme where we do a lot of ‘mother may I?’ said board chair Felicia Marcus. "We’re trying to set the bar, raise the floor, to make clear to people that we are in a very serious drought and everybody should be helping out."