California water-wasters could be fined $500 a day under proposal

California regulators may give local agencies power to fine water-wasters $500 a day as the state continues to face "extreme" drought conditions.

California regulators will consider forcing local agencies to ban wasteful outdoor watering, and giving them the authority to impose fines on scofflaws of up to $500 a day.

The State Water Resources Control Board will consider the emergency drought regulations at a public hearing Tuesday.
The rules would require urban agencies to ban practices such as hosing down sidewalks and driveways and washing a car without a shut-off nozzle. Though a number of cities, including Los Angeles, already have such regulations in place, most don’t.
The proposal would also give local agencies the authority to impose fines of up to $500 a day on violators, although enforcement would probably start with warnings and escalating fines.

The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday released updated results from a water-use survey that said consumption has risen 1%, even as Gov. Jerry Brown has called for a 20% cutback, the Associated Press reported.

The report corrected survey results released just a month ago that said use statewide had declined by 5%.

In June, nearly 80% of California was considered to be under "extreme" and "exceptional" drought conditions, the highest categories of dryness, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

And forecasters now say the El Niño conditions that had been predicted to bring some relief may not materialize.