Beverly Hills, Other Water Suppliers Fined $61,000 for Waste

Despite dire warnings and desperate pleas from state water officials, some agencies have failed to heed Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for call for mandatory water reductions. And last week, it came time for several of them to pony up.

Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District were each fined $61,000 by the State Water Resources Control Board Friday. The fines are a first for the state and represent $500 per day since June 1, which is the maximum that could be charged for each district.

“They weren’t making a strong enough effort, and the customers in their districts were not responding to the effort that they were making,” said Cris Carrigan, the state board’s enforcement director. Collectively, he added, the four districts have wasted some 2.3 billion gallons of water since June and have failed to fine any of their residents for overuse.

The four districts weren’t the only ones to have missed their water conservation goals, but Carrigan said the state would first go after agencies with plenty of financial wherewithal to enact conservation programs. If they don’t get their acts together, the penalties could eventually reach up to $10,000 a day.

Despite the penalties, officials also announced Friday that Californians have reduced water use by 28.1 percent since June.

“The bottom line is, the news is still quite good even though conservation rates are still lower than last month,” according to Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state board.

Read more about the new water fines here.

Image Credit: Flickr User 101561336@N03, via (CC BY 2.0)