SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Water use in the California is up, despite a request for every person in California to cut back 20 percent, prompting regulators to take drastic action.
The state water resources control board passed rules on a 4-0 vote implementing fines for not following new water rules, including anyone wasting water on grass or washing their cars.
The rules include exemptions for public health and safety, such as allowing cities to power-wash sidewalks to get rid of human waste left by homeless people.
“Many parts of California don’t seem to realize how bad the drought is,” said board chair Felicia Marcus.
The board found that despite all the coverage on California’s drought, water consumption statewide didn’t just miss the 20 percent goal, it actually increased in May compared to the past two years.
Southern California was home to the biggest offender with an 8 percent jump in the amount of water usage.
In Sacramento, the region didn’t meet the 20 percent goal, but still cut usage by 13 percent.
The statewide inconsistency is forcing the water board to take action.
“Some communities have done an awful lot- yet others have not taken this as seriously,” Marcus said.
Enforcement of fines up to $500 per day could be an issue, as the agency isn’t about to start ticketing on its own. That leaves local districts to do the dirty work.
“We are trying to set the bar, raise the floor, to make it clear to people that we are in a very serious drought and that everybody should be helping out,” Marcus said.