Water regulators ramp up restrictions

Mar 17, 2015 4:17 PM by News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Amid a historic drought, the California State Water Resources Control Board voted Tuesday to extend and expand restrictions on water use.

Local water departments will enforce the rules, which are designed to boost water supplies. Here's a look at how the regulations will affect California residents and businesses:


Servers in bars, restaurants and cafeterias can't bring out water with menus and silverware unless customers ask. Some restaurants already have signs saying they don't automatically serve water because of the drought. The rule is meant to raise conservation awareness more than save water.



Hotel guests must get a chance to decline fresh towels and sheets. Business operators must place signs in the bathroom reminding them they have this opportunity to conserve.



Local water departments have to limit how many days a week people water their lawns. The state standard is twice a week. Homeowners are also barred from turning on sprinklers on days when it rains and for the next two days after.



If local water departments get wind of leaks in homes and businesses, they must notify the customers. The rules don't spell out how, but the warnings can be included in bills or left on a door hanger.



Hosing down driveways and sidewalks is barred, and residents can only wash cars if their hoses can shut off. Decorative fountains can't use drinking-quality water unless they have recirculating pumps. Sprinklers must stay on grass and not spray sidewalks and streets.



Violators face a fine of up to $500 a day, but enforcement varies and severe penalties are rare. Local water departments must start reporting how they ensure their customers follow the water rules.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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