Water penalty fees approved by committee

ATWATER VILLAGE, Calif. Under L.A.'s current water conservation plan, residents are banned from watering their lawns between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. But with Southern California facing serious drought conditions, the Department of Water and Power wants to crack down even more.

"It's clear here in Los Angeles we cannot look to our external resources to increase, and so we have to look to our internal resources in order to provide the water that we need in the city, and the first place to start is conservation," said Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai.

Among the proposed water restrictions: Residents would only be allowed to water their lawns for 15 minutes each day. Restaurants would only be allowed to serve you water if you ask for it. Hotels will have to give guests the option of reusing their towels. And you want to wash your car? Only if your hose has an automatic shut-off nozzle.

The first time you're caught breaking one of these rules? You'd get a warning. After that, fines start at $100 and escalate up to $300.

"Everybody has to work together for the good of the community," said Porter Ranch resident John Ferris. "It's been dry, and if we have to sacrifice a little bit, so be it."

But would the new regulations be enforceable? The DWP says it would have a team of 16 "drought-busters" who would patrol the city and they would rely on people turning in neighbors who are breaking the rules.

But people Eyewitness News spoke with said that's probably not going to happen.

"I would not call the cops on my neighbors for watering their lawn," said Echo Park resident Ryan Skeen. "That's ridiculous."

"The rats. That's the only way it's going to happen -- the rats ratting people out, but no, I don't think they would be able to enforce it, " said Echo Park resident Leo Garcia.

The City Council is set to vote on the water conservation plan Friday. If it passes, brown may become the new green.


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