LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — New water regulations went into effect Friday, implementing fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing.
The fines will apply only to wasteful outdoor watering, including watering landscaping to the point that runoff flows onto sidewalks, washing a vehicle without a nozzle on the hose, or hosing down sidewalks and driveways.
Officials estimate the restrictions could save enough water statewide to supply more than 3.5 million people for a year.
Cities and water districts were given wide latitude on how the fines will be implemented. The full $500-a-day fine, considered an infraction, could be reserved for repeat violators, for example. Others might receive warnings or smaller fines based on a sliding scale.
The rules include exemptions for public health and safety, such as allowing cities to power-wash alleyways to get rid of human waste left by homeless people, to scrub away graffiti, and to remove oil and grease from parking structure floors.
Cities and suburbs use about 20 percent of the state’s water, with about half going outdoors. Agriculture is by far the greatest water user, accounting for 75 percent of consumption in the state.
The drought emergency was declared by Brown in January, and in April, he signed an executive order outlining measures to combat the water shortage.
“I’m calling upon all Californians, municipal water agencies and anyone that uses water to do anything humanly possible to conserve,” Brown said at the time.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)