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If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. In an effort to clamp down on Angelenos' profligate water use, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has just signed an ordinance doubling the penalties for residents who repeatedly flout the city's Drought Buster rules, reports the LAT's David Zahniser. The new law includes several commonsense provisions -- residents are barred from hosing down their driveways unless there's a public safety issue and are prohibited from watering their lawns when it rains -- and a few more stringent restrictions.
Doubling fines for residents, quadrupling fines for businesses
Department of Water and Power (DWP) customers who water their lawns during normal business hours (9 AM to 4 PM) will see their fines double; large business customers who violate the new measure will have their fines quadrupled. Restaurants are now prohibited from serving their customers water unless they specifically ask for it.
The DWP's toughened stance will be enforced by the city's 16 Drought Buster inspectors, who will be issuing fines to those caught in breach of the regulations 2 or more times. And not a moment too soon -- though the DWP would do well to follow its own advice.
Los Angeles' and the West's water "crisis"
As I've written about to some length, Los Angeles, and to a broader extent California, has been suffering from a crippling series of droughts over the past few years. To make things worse, a number of studies has shown that this trend is likely to continue over the coming decades as the Sierra snowpack, one of the West's main reserves of freshwater, begins to melt earlier in the year -- depriving the region of an essential supply.
Tussling over a $9.3 million water bond
A few months ago, Governor Schwarzenegger declared California was facing a "severe water crisis" and, alongside Senator Dianne Feinstein, has been pushing for the enactment of the Safe, Clean, Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2008, a $9.3 million bond that would improve the state's water supply by boosting storage and increasing conservation and efficiency measures.
The proposed legislation has been facing strong opposition from a coalition of environmental organizations. The groups argue that state officials should be focusing on innovating, creating a statewide conservation program and sustainable water policy, rather than throwing money away at the type of projects that have gotten the state in its current predicament.
The DWP is encouraging anyone who sees a violation to call its hotline: (800) DIAL-DWP.
Via ::Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles doubles fines for residents who waste water (news website)
More about water management in Los Angeles
::Los Angeles Drops 400,000 Balls in Reservoir to Fight Suspected Carcinogen
::News Flash: Angelenos Not Keen on Reducing Water Consumption
::California Commits to Significantly Reducing Storm Water Pollution