As drought rages on and the state of California continues to work towards meeting the stringent water conservation goals set out by Governor Jerry Brown, some communities are rallying for the cause and others can't seem to get their acts together. In Los Angeles, the resident water scofflaw is Beverly Hills, and after months of consistently underperforming in conservation, water officials in Sacramento are done fooling around with the affluent community. KPCC reports that the State Water Resources Control Board has levied a $61,000 fine on the city for their failure to comply with water conservation goals for four straight months. Maybe not shocking considering they started as some of the biggest water users in SoCal, rich communities tend to use way more water, and they've spent the water conservation period freaking out over losing their pools.
Under Governor Brown's order, water usage in the state of California is to be cut by 25 percent by February of 2016. To do that, each water district is given a monthly water conservation target and the water board is authorized to fine municipalities $500 for every day local water districts fail to meet conservation goals. Since Beverly Hills hasn't met its goal one single day since regulations took effect on June 1, they've racked up a healthy bill. They're not alone though. The water resources board has also slapped $61,000 fines on Redlands, Indio, and Coachella Valley—they're the four still wasting water while everyone else is taking five-minute showers.
Just last month, Beverly Hills only reduced water usage by 20.4 percent, when its goal was to reduce by 32 percent for the month. So they used 174.6 million more gallons of water than they were supposed to. One important thing to note is that the water reduction totals for each city are cumulative for the entire water reduction period of June 2015 through February 2016. That means Beverly Hills and others that missed their targets are in water conservation debt. Now Beverly Hills will have to conserve the water they failed to conserve these past few months, in addition to meeting their future monthly goals.
There's not much excuse Beverly Hills's failure in making its conservation goals. According to the water board, nearly three-quarters of water districts in the state are making their targets or are within one percent of doing so. In September, the LADWP, which serves more than 4 million people in greater Los Angeles, made its conservation goal and then some, saving three percent more water than they needed to. Similarly, Glendale, Burbank, Santa Monica, and South Pasadena were all in the black for their allotted water usage last month.
Despite so many communities' compliance, the water conservation fight is far from over. Officials have noted a drop in conservation across the board as California enters the cooler autumn months. People tend to think they need to conserve less in the fall than during the hot summer months, and local enforcement stumbles a bit. In September, local water agencies sent out 16 percent fewer compliance actions to water-wasting customers than they did in August.
· Californians continue to save water, but 4 suppliers hit with fines [KPCC]
· Mapping SoCal's Mandatory Water Cutbacks Big and Small [Curbed LA]
· Beverly Hills Residents Panicking Over Rumors of a Pool Ban [Curbed LA]
· Study: Rich LA Neighborhoods Are Using More Water Than Everyone Else [Curbed LA]