Tuesday, July 15, 2014, California’s State Water Resources Control Board voted to impose mandatory statewide water-use restrictions for the first time in state history, effective August 1.
Fines of up to $500 a day will be imposed on businesses and individuals for wasting water on landscaping, washing cars without a shut-off nozzle or other outdoor uses.
The new restrictions are prompted by California’s 3-year drought and by the results of a water-use survey showing that overall consumption in California actually increased 1% in 2014, despite pleas from Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown for residents and businesses to voluntarily cut back use by 20%. The increased usage is attributable to two regions of the state: Southern California coastal communities (Hollywood!) and the far northeastern slice of the state.
While no region of California met Brown’s request for a 20% reduction, some came closer than others:
- Communities that draw from the Sacramento River reduced consumption the most, by 13%.
- The North Coast reduced consumption by 12%.
- San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California cities that draw from the Colorado River decreased water use by 5%.
Cities and suburbs use about 20% of the state’s water, with about half going outdoors. Agriculture is by far the greatest water user, accounting for 75% of consumption in the state.
The sweeping list of mandates from the state includes:
- A ban on watering down sidewalks and driveways — except for sanitation purposes, e.g., 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.
- No more washing a vehicle or boat without a shut-off nozzle on the hose.
- Fountains must use recycled water.
- No watering so much as to cause runoff.
Fines of up to $500 for individuals and $10,000 for water districts could be issued for non-compliance.
It will be up to local governments and water districts to decide how to implement the mandates. 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.
State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus said, “The state cannot be in a situation where this goes two, three, four years and we’re dealing with massive numbers of cities running out of water. Our intention is that it would be enforceable at the local level by any enforcement capability local agencies currently have. We are trying not to reinvent any wheel.”
If fines fail to promote conservation, Marcus said the board would consider other steps such as requiring water districts to stop leaks in their pipes, which account for an estimated 10% of water use, stricter landscape restrictions and encouraging water agencies to boost rates for consumers who use more than their share of water.
And yet California is adding to the state population by receiving untold numbers from the “surge” of illegals crossing the US-Mexico border.
And yet, despite the ever-increasing population and therefore water users, the state government is doing NOTHING to increase water supply by building more reservoirs and dams because of opposition from
environmentalists green Nazis.
Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.