LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KERO) — Surprising news from California: despite the historic drought, the state is using more water, not less. Water usage rose 19 percent in March compared to the same period in 2020.
And now, unprecedented new water restrictions are being imposed affecting 4 million people in Southern California where beginning next month, outdoor watering will be limited to two days per week.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the changes that include ways to make sure people follow those new guidelines.
"Don't panic. We have plenty of water if we all do the right thing. Don't just come out with a ticket, say 'ok, we're going to fine everybody who makes one violation.' We would actually like people to be compliant. We like to figure out that it's in their interest so we'll have people ramping up, called our blue teams. Those are people who come when there's somebody watering on the wrong day or multiple days and we'll work with those folks to educate them first."
The California Senate is going one step further, passing a bill to limit indoor water usage. Right now, the state's standard for daily, indoor usage is 55 gallons per person. But under the bill passed by the Senate, that would be lowered to 42 gallons in the coming years.
Meanwhile, some state counties are taking things a step further to curb water usage. Some water districts in the Bay Area are adding surcharges to water bills.
The East Bay District, which provides water to about 330 square miles of San Francisco, voted to include an 8 percent rate hike Tuesday. Just last month, the district reinstated excessive use penalties on top of a 10 percent mandatory water use reduction.
But other districts in the state are planning to implement even higher rates. The Contra Costa Water District, which supplies water to Concord, plans to add a surcharge doubling the Bay Area. That 15 percent surcharge is for each unit of water used and is expected to last through next January