Measures for water conservation in drought-stricken California are getting tougher, as water resources threaten to run low and put the state at risk. The Water Resources Control Board has issued a new emergency regulation that restricts outdoor water use in urban areas for all residents of California.
The regulation prohibits watering outdoor landscapes, washing driveways and sidewalks, using a hose to wash cars and turning on outdoor fountains, unless the water is recirculated. Local officials will be able to adjust enforcement details as they see fit, but the ban is effective immediately throughout the state and will stay in force for 270 days. The board can decide to extend the period in which the restrictions are effective at any time. Residents who do not comply will face a $500 fine and water agencies that fail to comply with the requirements for water conservation will be fined up to $10,000 a day, the board said in a statement.
The board believes that many residents of California fail to realize the seriousness of the water scarcity problem. It said that many Californians use more water outdoors than indoors and in some areas more than half of the water use daily is for lawns and outdoor landscaping.
State Water Board chair Felicia Marcus commented that the measures were necessary not only because the state was going through the most severe drought in generations but also because its end could be far in the future.