California regulators approve unprecedented water cutbacks

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California state water regulators unanimously voted yes to unprecedented water restrictions across the state. Some of the biggest cutbacks will take place in the Valley. (KFSN)

California state water regulators unanimously voted yes to unprecedented water restrictions across the state. Some of the biggest cutbacks will take place right here in the Valley.

Letting your lawn turn a crispy shade of brown is the new way of keeping up with the Joneses. Mandatory water saving regulations across the state Tuesday won't allow for anything but.

"It's a very steep reduction. It's going to be challenging for all of our customers. It's across the board," said Clovis Assistant Public Utilities Director Lisa Koehn.

The State Water Resources Control Board is forcing cities like Clovis to reduce water usage by 36 percent compared to last year -- the highest of any cutback in the whole state.

"We expect that there will be a lot of people that will pay the penalties for not being able to reduce to the 36 percent," said Koehn.

Clovis water customers are already getting warnings. Outside watering in the city was reduced to two days a week starting this month, and if residents don't comply, the city will hand out fines.

"If you follow that and then you do a little changes inside the house or maybe you cut the watering time a little bit on your house on your watering days, you should be able to make it," said Koehn.

In Fresno, cutbacks are less harsh thanks to already imposed regulations last year. The city limits Fresnans to only water two days a week.

"All we need to do is another 11 percent, and we're well ahead of some of our communities, not only neighboring communities like Clovis, but certainly in other places in the state like Bakersfield who haven't had any restrictions at all before this," said city of Fresno spokesperson Mark Standriff.

Cities along the coast like San Francisco will only see an 8-percent reduction in water usage -- a telling sign of more difficult times ahead for the Central Valley.

Water districts across the state will have to impose the water savings targets. Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing for legislative authority to fine cities up to $10,000 for not meeting the demands.

Related Topics:
droughtwaterwater conservationjerry browncalifornia watercaliforniafresno countyFresnoClovis
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