While many Californians have been hoping that El Nino would help the state cope with its severe drought, the likelihood of that happening seems to be decreasing with each passing day. As such, many communities and cities throughout the state are looking for ways to conserve water while also getting residents to be more conscientious about their water use. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been no exception, as the department outlined its plans earlier this year that were designed to push residents toward meeting the mandatory statewide water restriction goals that have been put in place. As concerns continue to grow deeper, it is becoming increasingly more possible that the city will implement one of these plans, which is to impose higher fines on those who waste water.

Levying Hefty Fines on Water Wasters

According to recent reports, the LA Department of Water and Power may start imposing fines ranging from $1,000 to as much as $40,000 against those who are such serious water consumers that it is deemed to be “unreasonable.” The LA Department of Water and Power now has the ability to levy these heftier fines thanks to a new ordinance that was recently passed.

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With the new ordinance in place, the LA Department of Water and Power has the ability to approach those it considers to be “big users” of water. The department can then audit these users in order to determine if the amount of water they are using for their property is “reasonable.” When conducting the audit, the department is supposed to take a number of factors into consideration, including the property size, the landscaping type and the number of people who live in the household. If the audit determines that there was a failure to comply with the water use levels that have been put in place, stiff fines may be charged against the user.

The senior assistant general manager of the LA Department of Water and Power said the new fines will be in place to help target those who do not seem to think their water bill is large enough to be a financial concern. By implementing the fees, the department hopes to send the message that users need to be prepared to pay for the water if they plan to use so much of it.

Implementing the New Policy

Imposing hefty fees on those who waste water seemed to help reduce water consumption in Beverly Hills, so the LA Department of Water and Power hopes to achieve similar results. As such, the department will be implementing a “sliding scale” fine system. Smaller offenses, such as hosing down a driveway, will receive smaller fines. Yet, these fines may be increased in proportion to the severity of the drought conditions where the violation took place. For example, something that may have normally resulted in a $100 to $300 fine may result in a $400 to $1,200 fine during the most severe drought periods.

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(all data current as of 11/20/2017)

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