California faces mandatory water restrictions

The Associated PressJuly 15, 2014 

The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday approved mandatory restrictions on urban water use, backed up by fines. Prohibited activities include:

— Watering landscapes to the point that it causes runoff to adjacent property, sidewalks, streets and other areas.

— Using drinking water to wash sidewalks and driveways.

— Using a hose to wash a vehicle unless the hose has a shut-off nozzle.

— Using drinking water in an ornamental fountain unless the water is recirculated.

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Penalties:

— Violations are infractions punishable by fines of up to $500 a day. Cities and water districts can adopt a sliding scale that starts with a warning and increases for repeat violations.

— Tickets can be written by any public employee empowered to enforce laws.

— Urban water agencies are required to implement their water-shortage contingency plans to require mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use, if they haven't done so already.

—Those agencies without a plan have 30 days to begin requiring their residents to restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days each week or take other mandatory steps to conserve the same amount of water.

— Water suppliers who don't comply face fines up to $10,000 each day.

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— The regulations take effect in early August, after they are approved by the state Office of Administrative Law.

— They remain in effect for nine months unless they are renewed by the board.

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