SACRAMENTO, Calif. (FOX 11 / AP) - Governor Brown is cracking down again on water abusers. A year ago he wanted a mandatory 25% cut in water-use statewide.
He got almost 24% which produced a savings large enough to provide 6.5 million Californians with water for a year. But, to the Governor, it could have been more and so now his new order targets better efficiency and monthly reporting by districts of violations.
And, what’s being done to reduce them? David Pedersen is the General Manager for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District. He says, “What they’re looking for is how many of your customers are subject to some sort of notice or penalty.”
His district was giving out citations, but the cost of hiring officers to work the neighborhoods got expensive so, in January, they changed the billing system to include punitive fees for using excessive amounts of water.
The district showed us two bills. One user, they said, is efficient. No penalties. The other one was hit with almost $250 in penalties for excessive use. Now, that kind of information will have to go to the state on a permanent basis and, to some users like Charlene Moersen, "it sucks."
To customer Shari Monzello the idea of the Governor making conservation methods "permanent" is unsettling. She says, “I’m a little disturbed by it. I think everybody does their part to conserve. But, to make it permanent... might be a little extreme at this point.”
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement saying, "We must adapt to live with the new normal of drought and climate change. Governor Brown is right to call for permanent measures to conserve water. What was billed as a historic El Niño made only a small difference in our water supplies. Here in L.A. we have almost met our 2017 goal of a 20 percent reduction in water use through conservation and innovation. We will keep pushing to reach and surpass all the water supply goals in our Sustainable City plan.
Meanwhile, The LA Department of Water and Power issued this statement:
Drought-stricken California was set Monday to announce new conservation measures after a welcome rainy winter in parts of the state.
State water officials could ease conservation rules that initially called for a 25 percent savings and were later eased to 20 percent.
The latest call for changes came after El Nino storms left a healthy snowpack and brimming water reservoirs in Northern California.
Southern California remains firmly locked in a fifth year of drought.
Officials say Californians have saved a year's worth of water for 6.5 million residents since Gov. Jerry Brown imposed the conservation mandate.
The conservation orders apply to cities and water districts supplying most of the state's nearly 40 million people.
California last year marked its driest four-year stretch in history.
The winter El Nino storms brought near-normal snow and rainfall to Northern California, filling major reservoirs. The storms largely missed Southern California, however, and overall nearly 90 percent of the state remains in drought.
The easing drought has prompted many water districts to say they want to set their own conservation targets. Others say the state should completely drop the drought emergency.
Officials, however, say the bruising drought has not ended, and nobody knows how much rain and snow will fall next winter.
Any changes proposed on Monday would likely go before the State Water Resources Control Board on May 18.
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