The State Water Resources Control Board approved a measure Tuesday outlawing the wasteful use of water by residents and businesses in towns and cities.
Overwatering lawns, hosing off driveways or filling decorative fountains could lead to fines of up to $500, though local agencies are expected to work collaboratively with residents on compliance. The rules, similar to those of the previous drought, take effect for one year and would override any local policies from home owners associations, cities or counties that could deter conservation.
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“Prohibiting wasteful water practices increases awareness of water as a precious resource, no matter what type of weather we are experiencing in a given moment," said board chair Joaquin Esquivel, noting the recent winter storms that have notched up water supplies but remain far short of breaking the drought.
The latest urban conservation numbers assembled by board staff showed Californians have met Gov. Gavin Newsom less than halfway in his goal of cutting water use by 15%.