Water wasters fined $61,000

Bay Area residents helped the state meet water conservation goals in September, according to new numbers released Friday.

The State Water Resources Control Board said water use was reduced by 26 percent during September, meeting the state's goal of 25 percent. In the Bay Area, users reduced water use by 25.1 percent.

But it wasn't all good news, as four water suppliers in Southern California were issued fines after failing to meet their conservation goals. Beverly Hills, Redlands, Indio and the Coachella Valley Water District were each issued a $61,000 fine by the state.

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Both Indio and the Coachella Valley Water district are in the golf rich Coachella Valley, which has struggled to reduce water use. The region has more than 120 golf courses which use billions of gallons of water each year to stay in top shape for tourists.

The water board is allowed to fine agencies $500 a day for noncompliance. The fines announced today are for penalties accumulated since June. The water board says additional California water agencies may be fined in the coming weeks.

The state has the ability to issue a cease and desist order, but the Water Resources Control Board says no such orders have been issued. The board also admits keeping up this type of conservation will be difficult as state residents start to prepare for the El Nino.

"We’re in the position of having to prepare for drought and flooding at the same time, but that’s what we’re faced with,” said Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

The state says money collected from fines will be used to support California water conservation.

MORE: Bay Area Works to Conserve Water


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