Closer look at Statewide water restrictions

local drought rules

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - New water restrictions are for the entire state of California, including the Coachella Valley, but how those rules are implemented will depend on your local water agency or district.

"All of our customers will be affected," said Desert Water Agency board president Craig Ewing.

How you are affected depends on where you live. The new state mandate requires all water agencies and districts to active their drought contingency plans.  In the Desert, that step is usually reserved for a disaster, like an earthquake, that cuts off water supplies. 

"We can supply local water, but because of the statewide drought we are asked to step up with every other water agency in California and enforce these restrictions," said Ewing.

The restrictions and fines are ones that will take time to implement. 

"We are not going to start restricting water use to you and telling you how much you can use but we will be out there making sure that you are not wasting your money or the community's water," said Mission Springs Water District administrative officer John Soulliere.

"It doesn't mean you have to turn off your sprinklers, it does mean that we have to pay even more attention to how we use water," said Ewing.  

So how do you know if you are wasting water?  The easiest way is to look at your bill.  For Coachella Valley Water District customers it rates your water use at the bottom of your bill. 

"Excellent or efficient, if you are getting those then you are doing everything you can be doing to conserve water. If you are inefficient or wasteful or excessive there are steps you need to take," said Coachella Valley Water District director of communication Heather Engel.

Engel says the district wants to help you cut your usage. It will even send someone out to your home to check for leaks if necessary. 

As for the potential $500 fine for wasting water State Regulators approved, local agencies tell us that will be a last resort. 

"We much rather be in the business of education and incentives, turf buy back, smart controllers," said Ewing. 

Keep in mind before anything takes affect, you will be notified by mail of exactly what you are and aren't allowed to do.

"We want to educate people not punish them, that is our key strategy for dealing with these regulations," said Ewing. 

Desert Water Agency has approved their regulations as a result of the state's mandate. Click here to read more.

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