The California Water Quality Control Board took the unprecedented step Wednesday of approving fines of up to $500 a day for people who use water wastefully on their lawns and cars. California is in the midst of a three-year drought, the worst the state has seen since the mid-1970s.
“Our goal here is to light a fire under those who aren’t yet taking the drought seriously,” said water board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus after the vote.
The rules, which take effect in August, include exemptions for public health and safety. Cities and water districts can choose how they implement the fines.
The board approved the rules after voluntary conservation measures failed.