Drop That Hose! California Implements Drought Restrictions, Daily Fines Up to $500


watering lawn


So-called “water-wasters,” beware. The state of California is going after you.

After a record drought season left the golden state with water levels far below normal, your lawn may have to look a little more golden itself these days.

That’s because the state water board recently approved a new emergency regulation which makes it illegal for Californians to do such things as hose down their driveway and let water runoff occur.

There are four main provisions of the new measure. The emergency regulation states the following:

“To promote water conservation, each of the following actions is prohibited, except where necessary to address an immediate health and safety need or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a state or federal agency:

1) The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property , non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures;

2) The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use;

3) The application of potable water to driveways and sidewalks; and

4) The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.

The water code further states that violators can be fined up to $500 a day for each day they’re found wasting water as outlined.

According to State Water Board Spokesman George Kostyrko, the action was made to help the state cut down on water usage by 20 percent as Gov. Jerry Brown wants.

“If people can cut down their outdoor irrigation just a couple days a week, we should see upwards of that 20 percent,” Kostyrko said.

Kostyrko stressed that much of the water we currently use here in California is outdoors.

“In some areas of the State, 50 percent or more of daily water use is for lawns and outdoor landscaping,” a state water board announcement says.

Water boards at the local level are expected to enforce the new regulations. What’s more, water suppliers have a new set of guidelines to follow.

“Larger water suppliers are required to activate their Water Shortage Contingency Plan to a level where outdoor irrigation restrictions are mandatory,” the state announcement says.

“In communities where no water shortage contingency plan exists, the regulation requires that water suppliers either limit outdoor irrigation to twice a week or implement other comparable conservation actions.

“Finally, large urban water suppliers must report water use on a monthly basis to track progress beginning Aug. 15.”

The emergency regulation is already in effect as of July 29. It was adopted on July 15.

If YOU see water being wasted by state facilities, you’re asked to report that here.