California regulators are considering fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.
The State Water Resources Control Board is meeting Tuesday in Sacramento and is expected to vote on the proposed rules late in the day.
The rules would prohibit the watering of landscaping to the point that runoff spills onto sidewalks or streets. Hosing down sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces would be banned along with washing vehicles without a shut-off nozzle.
Violations would be infractions punishable by the fines, although most cities are likely to have a sliding scale that starts with a warning and increases for repeat violations.
The board estimates that its proposed restrictions could save enough water to supply more than 3.5 million people a year.