Tough new statewide regulations restricting outdoor water use took effect Tuesday, the same day millions of gallons of water gushed from a ruptured water main near the UCLA campus.
Under the emergency conservation restrictions, which were approved July 15 and were prompted by the statewide drought, hosing down driveways and sidewalks is prohibited, as is watering outdoor landscapes if it causes excess runoff.
In addition, water can't be added to a decorative water feature unless it uses a recirculating system. Californians can use a hose to wash their cars only if the hose has a shut-off nozzle.
Offenders can be subject to a daily fine of $500.
The state Water Resources Control Board says the conservation steps are crucial because
The regulations will remain in effect for 270 days.
In some parts of California, 50% or more of the water used goes onto lawns and other outdoor landscaping, according to state officials.
Water suppliers throughout the state must make outdoor irrigation restrictions mandatory. They also are required to report water use monthly starting Aug. 15.