PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - -

State drought measures require Californians and water agencies to reduce water use. The board of the Desert Water Agency discussed water restrictions affecting Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, and parts of Cathedral City at its July 15 meeting.

Under the rules:

   -- Drinking water will not be served in restaurants unless it is requested;
   -- Washing hard surfaces, such a driveways and patios, is prohibited
   -- Cars can only be washed using hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles;
   -- Commercial nurseries will be allowed to water plants between midnight and 6 a.m.;
   -- Parks, golf courses, and schools will be watered only at night; and
   -- Watering lawns or construction sites to keep dust down will be permitted between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m.; Exceptions may be made for health and safety reasons, and recycled water users are exempt.

About 30 people showed up to the DWA Board Meeting, many voicing concerns about enforcement. DWA Board of Supervisors President Craig Ewing says, " The local conservation measures will be enforced by desert water agency staff. We have a large group in the community doing meter readings, and they will be our eyes and ears to look for water waste and report back to the agency."

Ewing also says this is an opportunity to educate the public before fining customers for wasting water. "We will contact the customers who look like they are wasting water and give them a chance to correct it," he says, "It starts with an notice that we notice water wasting, then it becomes an educational opportunity for the water agency to let our customers who may not have gotten the word until now, know that one, we are serious about water conservation and two, each of us needs to step up and do our part."

Coachella Valley Water District spokeswoman Heather Engel said the agency's board will consider a similar action at its Aug. 12 meeting. That district covers most of the rest of the Coachella Valley.

For more information on Desert Water Agency's restrictions, go to www.dwa.org.

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