California Approves Fines for ‘Water-Wasters’

California water regulators voted Tuesday to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing, as a report showed that consumption throughout the state has actually risen amid the worst drought in nearly four decades.

The action by the State Water Resources Control Board came after its own survey showed that conservation measures to date have failed to achieve the 20 percent reduction in water use sought by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Survey results released before the 4-0 vote showed water consumption throughout California had actually jumped by 1 percent this past May compared with the same month in previous years.

The fines will apply only to wasteful outdoor watering, including watering landscaping to the point that runoff flows onto sidewalks, washing a vehicle without a nozzle on the hose, or hosing down sidewalks and driveways.

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