California has approved fines for wasting water of up to $500 as the state continues to work through significant drought conditions. Cities have imposed mandatory water restrictions and will be monitoring waste.
The $500 fine can be up to $500 per day, not a total individual cap which could mean big bucks for residents that want a green lawn at all costs. Some agriculture sources in the state have noted that farming operations are considering watering with saltwater which is possible for a limited number of crops like almonds, but only for a limited amount of time before damage occurs.
Some of the larger cities in California like Los Angeles already have mandatory water restrictions in place. However, Governor Brown has called for an overall 20% statewide reduction which wasn’t happening through voluntary conservation outside of the large cities. Now, restrictions on use are mandatory and statewide.
Restrictions are expected to come into force on August 1. Residents will no longer be able to have sprinkler runoff, ornamental fountains that don’t recirculate, and will not be allowed to hose off driveways and sidewalks.
Fines will escalate for repeat offenders. Water use actually rose one percent in May, according to the Los Angeles Times.