Despite New Law, No Fines on water wasters in California


All the tough talk directed at water wasters in Los Angeles seems not to be yielding results. Because of this, this city, and other cities in California are now thinking of gentle coaxing rather than considering costly fines.

New state rules which came into effect recently imposed a fine of $500 on water wasters, but local authorities have their own sets of rules regarding penalties.

However, according to Max Gomberg a well known environmental scientist, a few people have already paid these fines.

“Normally, getting a notice would just be enough to take care of the issues that are at hand,” said Gomberg. “The citations should just be reserved for people who don’t want to help out.”


One of the areas that is mostly cited when it come s to water violators is Santa Cruz where most of its water resources is drying up. The city has come up with a water school where people caught for violating the specified conditions are taught in a class set up.

Sacramento is also another city that has been hit by the drought and which had deployed extra staff to patrol the streets. However, the city’s officials believe that warnings will help pass the information.

For the first quarter of 2014, water department in Los Angeles gave out 863 warning letters and received up to 1,400 reports. But so far, no person has been made to pay a fine, said a city official who requested for anonymity.

Up to now, the city has deployed one inspector to go round handling water wastage concerns in a city with a population of 4 million people. This was announced Monday by the city communications department.

The city officials said that history have shown them that gentle approaches works better than when punitive measures are adopted. In the past, even when thousands of citations letters are send out, there is less likelihood that positive changes would occur.

“It can be a very costly exercise drafting and distributing letters which customers cannot take seriously. There can be massive push back.”

For the past few years, the district have been on the lookout for better ways of curbing water use and wastage and in 2011, the country overhauled the rate structure it was using.

Customers are given an amount of water and if they exceed, penalties apply.

At the moment, Los Angeles city is in its phase 2 of forced water conservation ordinance which means that they cannot water lawns, gardens or even wash cars unless on certain prescribed days of the week and unless they are using shut off nozzles.

An extended dry session and winter may bring in the third phase of the water legislation which will result in harsher restrictions.

The third phase of restrictions may force people not to wash their cars unless at a commercial car washing station.

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