Tuesday evening, California’s State Water Resources Control Board approved proposed bans on watering lawns, washing cars or sidewalks, and running fountains. Violators of the new bans will face fines up to $500 a day.
California is currently in the midst of a three-year dry spell, and the drought will likely last another year.
The State Water Resources Control Board believes the emergency conservation measures are necessary, since Californians failed to heed Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use.
“Not everybody in California understands how bad this drought is … and how bad it could be,” Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus told the Associated Press Tuesday. “There are communities in danger of running out of water all over the state.”
Marcus also stated that California water regulators are willing to take further action, such as imposing tighter rules for landscaping and higher rates for wasteful consumers, if necessary.