Santa Barbara
88° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
Santa Maria
91° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
San Luis Obispo
90° F
84° F

Drought Fines for Water Hogs

Published On: Jul 11 2014 04:45:01 AM CDT

When Governor Brown urged all Californians to voluntarily reduce water use earlier this year amid what some are calling the worst drought in state history, he was hoping for a 20 percent reduction.

Since then coastal communities have reduced water use by only 5 percent and some, larger urban areas like L.A. and San Diego have increased use by up to 4 percent.

"I just wouldn't want to come home to dry grass", says Santa Maria resident Nancy Rust who says you can't judge a water user by how green their front lawn is.

"I don't water that much", Rust says about her sprinklers, "I only water about three minutes a day to just keep it green, everybody I know has a bigger water bill than I do."

Amid what one NASA earth scientist calls the "worst drought since record-keeping began in the late-1800's", the state has proposed emergency water regulations that would restrict outdoor water usage.

The Associated Press says a draft of the unprecedented statewide restrictions will be reviewed next week by the California Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento.

The proposed regulations would prohibit landscape watering that causes runoff onto sidewalks or streets, washing down sidewalks, driveways or other hard surfaces, using a hose to wash a vehicle unless it has a shut-off nozzle and using drinking water in a fountain without re-circulation.

Violators could be fined up to $500 a day.

Urban water agencies would be subject to daily fines of up to $10,000 for not implementing water-shortage contingency plans, which restrict how many days a week residents can engage in outdoor watering, among other limits on their customers.

A state Water Resources Control Board spokesperson says the proposed regulations for residents and urban water agencies are subject to public comment and regulators will vote on July 15.

If passed, they would take effect in August and remain in place for nine months with the possibility of being extended. How the restrictions would be enforced and fines levied is part of the public review process, the spokesperson says.

While having a brown lawn may be politically correct during these historic drought times, others have chosen to embrace the notion of drought resistant landscaping.

"Even 18 years ago people were starting to talk about things like this", says Lillian McKay of Santa Maria

McKay says neighbors have complimented her on her drought tolerant front yard.

"Now its really serious", McKay says about the drought in California, "I was reading  that we're only down five percent of water use, they were hoping for a voluntary 20 percent and they are not even close, I'm surprised that haven't put it into mandatory right now, I mean we are so bad off right now you would think that's what they would do."

Amy Yamate of Santa Maria says she can see "water cops" writing tickets for people wasting water on the sidewalk.

"I wouldn't be surprised, probably, its getting that severe", Yamate says.

"Well they can", adds Nancy Rust, "but I'm sure their water bill is higher than mine."

Cambria and Montecito are among a growing list of local communities that have strict landscape irrigation restrictions in place with steep fines for violators.


The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Nevada College Student Goes Missing in Santa Barbara

    A young woman visiting the Santa Barbara area from Sierra Nevada College in Nevada, has gone missing.

  • Teen With Ties To Santa Barbara Arrested In Bay Area Killings

    NewsChannel 3 has learned one of three drifters accused of gunning down two people in the Bay Area is from Santa Barbara.

  • Neil Young could face fines for playing overtime

    Rocker Plays Past Bowl Curfew

    A conditional use permit requires musicians to stop performing at the Santa Barbara Bowl by 10 p.m, but that didn't stop Neil Young on Saturday night.

  • Los Olivos Woman Killed in Murder-Suicide Mourned

    The woman killed in a murder-suicide in Los Olivos Thursday morning is being remembered as a "great" sister, daughter and devoted mother of three children.

  • New Ice Rink Opens With Fanfare

    Goleta Ice Rink Opens With Fanfare

    A long awaited ice rink opened its doors to the public on Saturday.

    Goleta's Ice in Paradise held a ribbon cutting for the soft opening of the facility at 6985 Santa Felicia Drive.

    There were plenty of smiles and cheers as people skated on the NHL-sized hockey rink for the first time.

    "I've been waiting over thirty years for this," said Tina Kerrigan of Santa Barbara.

    Jack Norqual, a long-time hockey player and retired businessman, was instrumental in turning the ice rink into a reality.

    "We did not compromise. We could have compromised and done something to a lesser degree but we felt that people waited long enough," Norqual said.

    Norqual also brought in Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider who helped finance the project.

    "This is going to be a tremendous asset to the community for all the kids that need so many things to do.  I am just thrilled we are going to be able to have it," Snider said.

    The $15 million dollar facility, which broke ground last November will provide a place for local figure skaters and hockey players to train closer to home.

    "It's so much nicer, I can't even tell you. It feels like you are playing in a college stadium. We're hoping we get some students at games and hoping for success with that now that we are 2 and 0," said Will Hahn of the Santa Barbara Royals hockey team.

    "I'll be able to skate more times a day," said figure skater Valentina Juricek of Santa Barbara.

    Former LA Kings hockey player Luc Robitaille said hockey is a fast-growing sport in sunny California.  

    "Kids love to skate. There's something about it right now. There's been tremendous growth and there's a lot of kids playing in the NHL who are from California," Robitaille said.

    Norqual said this facility has something for everyone, including adaptive athletes and people who just want to have fun.

    There will also be a place to kids to do their homework after school.

    There are still some finishing touches that need to be completed before the official grand opening in November.

  • West Nile Virus Detected in Santa Barbara County

    Dead birds in Goleta, Santa Ynez Valley test positive for mosquito-borne virus.

  • City College president announces retirement next summer

    Santa Barbara City College President Announces Retirement

    After announcing her retirement plans, Santa Barbara City College president Lori Gaskin attended a special joint meeting of the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees and Santa Barbara City Council.

  • Brush Fire Burning Along Freeway Near Los Alamos

    Firefighters found themselves battling a brush fire along the center divider of U.S. 101 about two miles south of Los Alamos.

  • Randy Quaid mugshot

    Vermont State Police via CNN

    Celebrity mug shots

    Actor Randy Quaid, best known for movies like "Kingpin" and "Independence Day," was arrested Friday trying to cross from Quebec into Vermont. Take a tour of our gallery of celebrity mug shots, featuring familiar faces dating back to 1938.

  • Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt at Maleficent premiere

    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

    Celebrities: Where were they born?

    When it comes to the birthplaces of celebrities, they're all over the map. See which celebrity was born where.