Californians are in quite a pickle over the drought that's been making the golden state a crispy brown since late last year. And now, different levels of government are guaranteeing to make the crisis even more difficult.
On Tuesday the California Water Resources Control Board announced that beginning August 1 they would begin fining individuals $500 a day for washing cars, hosing sidewalks, or watering lawns.
Also on Tuesday the city of Glendora, California sent a warning to Laura Whitney and Michael Korte: Water your lawn or pay $500.
The Associated Press (AP) explains that the city isn't pleased to see the couple's grass is dead, but it's dead "because of their conservation, which, besides a twice-a-week lawn watering regimen, includes shorter showers and larger loads of laundry." From the report:
"Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green," says the letter, which gives Korte and Whitney 60 days to restore their lawn. …
Local officials say conserving water and maintaining healthy landscaping are not mutually exclusive goals. They caution that even in times of water shortages, residents shouldn't have free rein to drive down property values, and they can use drought-resistant landscaping or turf removal programs to meet local standards.
However, the AP also notes that at least in one case, an Orange County resident "spent more than $600 on the changes as [a local] agency mandated she water and maintain her yard in 'a healthy green condition.'"
This isn't the first time California's regulations have threatened to make the drought worse. As Reason's Scott Shackford pointed out earlier this year, the push to ban plastic bags (so far unsuccessful statewide, but in effect in plenty of cities) means that people have to buy reusable bags, which they then have to wash, which defeats the push to save water.