New water rules, $500 fines in place

Jul 15, 2014 8:57 PM by Alex Backus

The State Water Resources Control Board passed new rules for water conservation Tuesday, now violators will face hefty fines.

Joel Schlotz grows 40 trees in his orchard, in the midst of a severe drought, he's become prudent with saving water.

"I didn't want to water where there were no trees because it promotes weed growth and it's smart to conserve water," Schlotz explained.

He changed his orchard sprinklers from watering in a full to half circle, watering just the root of the trees, a task he calls easy.

"Replacing the sprinkler heads is very simple," Schlotz explained. "You just unscrew them off and back on, anybody could do it."

The rest of his home is watered using the drip method.

"It's more effective because you don't waste water, you get it where you want it."

Both are conservation methods water users may want to consider, now that the State Water Resources Control Board passed four new rules, prohibiting: hosing down sidewalks or driveways, using a hose without a nozzle, water fountains without recirculation, and run-off water.
Violators will face a $500 fine per day. California Water Service Chico District Manager Pete Bonacich calls them "pretty simple basic measures."

Bonacich says the greater Chico area has cut down water use by 20 percent since 2008, the target percentage Governor Jerry Brown set for the state to achieve by 2020.

"The 2020 goal was 229 gallons per capita per day and we're already below that, Bonacich said. "That's pretty impressive."

Per person, each user in the Chico area currently uses about 224 gallons per day. Schlotz says his conservation methods are common sense.

"It just makes sense to me, I wouldn't do it any other way."

"I think we're in a community that has a high level of awareness and wants to do the right thing," Bonacich said.

Bonacich said local governments will likely pass ordinances then work on enforcement. The rules and fines will take effect August 1st.


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