California Water Authorities Take Action to Conserve Water at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Request

California authorities take measures to take care of the use of water.

Photo: Jamie Squire/Allsport/Getty Images

California water officials Tuesday adopted a ban on watering certain green spaces as the state’s drought continues and with the hottest months of summer ahead.

The ban adopted by the California State Water Resources Control Board follow the request of Governor Gavin Newsom for residents to use less water or face sweeping and mandatory restrictions on the use of the vital liquid.

Related: Governor Gavin Newsom threatened to impose mandatory water restrictions if consumption is not reduced in California

This includes non-functional lawn irrigation on commercial and industrial sites, and violators can be fined $500 per day.

Starting June 10, watering certain grass areas outside of businesses will no longer be allowedindustrial facilities and institutions such as schools, hospitals and government facilities, as well as spaces managed by communities of owners.

The lawn that cannot be watered includes everything used for decoration and not for regular activities or events.

The ban does not apply to parks, sports fields, people’s gardens or to water trees.. It would apply to lawns managed by communities of owners, but not to individual residents.

Beyond those restrictions, about 400 local water districts serving California cities and towns must step up conservation actionthe board voted.

Each district follows conservation requirements based on local plans created after the last drought. Many further limit how often people can water their gardens and aim to boost public messages about the value of conservation.

This Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) water conservation team set out to look for waste water in residential areas.

They said the goal it is not to penalize people, but to educate them.

“They’re not going to get a citation, and even if they did, because we’re more interested in changing behavior and education, it would be an uneconomic citation at first,” said LADWP’s Damon Ayala, who said he will start issuing information letters for those who are not aware of the ordinance and the new changes in restrictions.

Officials from different water agencies urged the board not to force them to apply further restrictions and instead give them more discretion based on local supply conditions.

Stacy Taylor, water policy manager at the Mesa Water District in Orange County, said many local districts have already achieved significant water savings and increased supplies through investments in water storage, recycling and other measures.

The board approved an exception for a small number of water districts, including Santa Cruz, a coastal city of about 65,000 residents, where water use is already very low, at about 45 gallons per person per day. A 10 minute shower uses approximately 20 gallons.

Santa Cruz is not as hot or dry as many parts of inland California, and the city does not receive water from state supplies.

Under the exclusion, districts not dependent on state or federal supplies or the Colorado River, that have low average per capita water use and do not rely heavily on depleted groundwater supplies will face a different set of rules. Only about 10 districts are expected to meet that criteria, said Max Gomberg, manager of water conservation and climate change.

Instead of going to the next step of your local plans, they will be required to limit outdoor watering with potable water to two days per week and only during certain hours.

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