Five-fold hike in water wasting fines likely for some L.A. area residents

It soon will cost more to waste water in LA County unincorporated areas

Fines for wasting water in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County are expected to rise sharply as warmer weather approaches.  

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a measure that would boost fines from $100 to $500 for each offense.  The increase would bring the county into line with state conservation efforts, if it receives final approval in the coming weeks as expected.

Local water companies will be required to notify customers of the higher fines.

About 1.1 million people live in one of  the scores of unincorporated communities within the county. They include Altadena, Lennox and Del Aire near LAX, Rancho Dominguez in the South Bay and View Park, Windsor Hills and Baldwin Hills north of Inglewood.

The county's current schedule of penalties, adopted in response to drought conditions in 2008, call for violators to get a warning for a first offense.  A spokeswoman for Supervisor Don Knabe said a warning is usually enough to get most people to stop wasting water.

The water conservation regulations, similar to rules adopted by the state and other cities and counties, prohibit hosing down walks and driveways, and put restrictions on washing cars at home.

Watering a lawn or other landscaping between the hours of  10 a.m. and 5 p.m. is prohibited.  Property owners also are required to fix plumbing leaks quickly, and restaurants can only offer customers water when it is requested.

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