[BAY FEATURE]Bay Area Drought Watch

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Coverage of California's looming water problem

Bay Area Water Agencies Work to Enforce New California Restrictions

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    Bay Area water agencies are now trying to figure out how to enforce new state restrictions, including fining water wasters up to $500 a day. Michelle Roberts reports.

    Bay Area water agencies are now trying to figure out how to enforce new state restrictions, including fining water wasters up to $500 a day.

    The new rules will go into effect on Aug. 1.

    "We don't anticipate we will be looking for these sites," said Beau Goldie, Santa Clara Valley Water District CEO. "We get plenty of reports that come into us on violations."

    Goldie said she is prepared to ask for more money from the board to help pay for water cops. Officials said the water cops will enforce the new state rules and look out for water wasters.

    "A lot of people who don't know we inform them, we believe they'll make the corrective measure and probably wouldn't get a fine," Goldie said. "We do have individuals who have a hard time understanding, and at that point be some kind of a fine."

    Repeat water abusers will see the first tickets, Goldie said.

    Meanwhile, some residents welcome the steep fines.

    "People that are not conserving water, maybe that will wake them up to the fact that they need to start doing it," San Jose-resident Rita Hawley said.

    Others argue even responsible home owners can make a mistake.

    "I would probably say something, complain or write a letter," Chris Denker said of possible fines. Denker hopes water cops consider all the circumstances before violations are written.

    The new water restrictions include a ban on washing cars without a nozzle and over-watering lawns. In addition, the rules call for an outright ban on power washing.

    Meanwhile, the San Jose Water Company said the state's new rules have been in place for their customers since March, with the $500 fine the only change. Officials said the company is still working on how tickets, if any, will be handed out.