$500 Fines For Water Wasters Start Friday

Mike Dronkers / Monday, July 28, 2014 @ 12:59 p.m. / Environment, KHUM

Photo: Ryan Burns

Californians aren't taking the drought seriously enough, say state regulators. According to state data, California actually used 1 percent more water in May 2014 compared to May 2013.

In response, Sacramento is taking aim at landscaping, lawn overwaters, and washers of cars, driveways, and sidewalks.

Dave Hull of the Humboldt Community Services District told KHUM today:

The State Water Resources Control Board passed an emergency resolution last week, and it was really intended to heighten awareness to the condition we have, and to put some prohibitions and restrictions on water use.

So what is 'wasting water' under these new rules? According to a press release from the State Water Resources Control Board:

With this regulation, all Californians will be expected to stop: washing down driveways and sidewalks; watering of outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff; using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, and using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated. The regulation makes an exception for health and safety circumstances.

Residents could be fined up to $500 per day. HCSD's meter readers and other staff will be the eyes of the program, and Hull said they'd be talking to customers in violation of the new rules. 

Hull on Enforcement

Agencies like HCSD will be held accountable by the state if they do not enforce the new rules, Hull said. Despite NoHum's water supply being in relatively good shape, those agencies now have a more powerful regulatory tool at the their disposal.

"I think you probably saw the statewide survey about how much people have conserved water over the last year.. Our area is down 12%, so people have done a great job of heeding the warnings and being aware of what's going on."

Hear Hull's full KHUM interview below.

Dave Hull on KHUM

PS - Hull was very clear that these restrictions apply to potable water, so your hippie neighbor with the rainwater-harvesting roof gets the last laugh. Again. Jerk.