Officials scramble to enforce new state water limits
REDDING, Calif. - Water officials in Redding are scrambling to comply with new state rules Wednesday. The new regulations will force Californians to conserve water or face hefty fines. The Redding Water Utility is busy working on recommendations for the city council. Redding City Water Manager John Wendele said the city must enforce the state mandate that was approved Tuesday, or the city could face a penalty of $10,000 per day. There were four new rules passed by the State Water Board in Sacramento Tuesday. 1. No hosing down driveways or sidewalks 2. No outdoor watering that causes run-off 3. No washing cars without having a shut-off nozzle on the hose 4. No using potable water in an outdoor fountain Wendele said his staff must come up with ways to enforce the new rules. The penalties could range from warnings to fines of up to $500 per day . The city will likely have to amend its current ordinance to follow the new mandates on water use. The changes will be discussed at the city council meeting on July 29, or at a special council meeting. The state regulations take effect August 1. Wendele said Redding residents have done a good job, reducing water use by 11 percent over the last year. Redding Water Utility sent a letter to the State Water Board before Tuesday's meeting, stating that the mandates were unnecessary because Redding residents had voluntarily reduced their water use. But Wendele added they need to keep conserving in order to comply with the new rules.
"The drought is the real deal, it definitely is a crisis," Wendele said.
The water utility must determine how warnings and fines would be issued. Their recommendations require approval by the Redding City Council. Governor Jerry Brown issued an emergency drought declaration earlier this year and as the year progressed the drought has continued. As it currently stands, nearly 80 percent of California is facing extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. He asked Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. But at Tuesday's hearing, state leaders learned that water consumption throughout California had actually risen by one percent this past May compared to the same month in previous years. That was primarily due to increased water use in Southern California. "During this ongoing drought, conservation is vitally important and we support efforts that will help Californians save water," said State Water Contractors General Manager Terry Erlewine. "Californians should take the state regulations as an urgent call to save water and water agencies will be working with their customers to be as efficient with water as possible."
For more tips on conserving water on landscaping, go to www.saveourh2o.org/content/water-wise-landscaping-basics