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Steep fines for water wasters to begin in August

EUREKA- The State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt drought regulations that would fine those who waste water up to $500 per day.

Under the new rules, all Californians are required to stop hosing down driveways and sidewalks, watering lawns causing excess runoff, using a hose without a shut off nozzle to wash your car and using drinking water in ornamental fountains that don’t recirculate.

In Eureka, some supported the regulations but others just weren’t sure how effective the fines would really be.

“In a way it's a good thing, but then in a way I just don't know,” said local resident Jeanette Carey.

And some, like local resident Jerry Nason, suggested getting rid of your lawn altogether.

“I can't see why a lot more people wouldn't want to get rid of their yard because most people do want to water their yard and make it look nice but that's a lot of water,” Nason said.

Nason’s yard is considered drought friendly. It is covered in wood shavings and helps capture water runoff, allowing the earth soak in water. As for the new fines, Nason says they seem necessary.

“I honestly think we have to do it,” Nason said. “I don't think it’s a penalty so much. Once people become aware of the fact that water's our last renewable resource that I'm aware of and I'm all for saying yea, let's do it for a while.”

But many are still holding out for the rain.

The regulations will go into effect August 1. The water board expects urban water suppliers like the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District to enforce those rules. However, in an official statement from the district, they say that because the district sells water wholesale to various cities including Eureka, Arcata, Blue Lake, and other community services districts, they are exempt from the regulations. The district also says that their water supply is currently sufficient to last through two more years of drought.