Heavy Water Users in California Could Face Penalties, $500 Fines If Drought Persists

Sprinklers water a yard at dusk in Beverly Hills. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Sprinklers water a yard at dusk in Beverly Hills. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Locked in a multi-year drought, California’s urban water suppliers have, for the most part, happily enforced rules that prohibit specific wasteful water practices, such as hosing down driveways and over-watering lawns.

But far fewer agencies have been willing to go beyond state mandates and penalize customers simply for using profligate volumes of water. The names of those heavy users have been mostly kept secret under California public records law.

That’s about to change.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill this week requiring water districts to crack down on excessive use anytime a drought emergency is in effect and water conservation is required — as has been the case for much of the last year.

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