Chico water customers ration water usage

Chico water customers rationing water usage

CHICO, Calif. - Only 10 more days until you risk being hit with a $500 fine if you waste water.

The State is allowing that fine for things like excessive watering of lawns, washing your car or sidewalk. Despite them introducing the fine, it's up to local agencies to decide how to enforce it.

The Cal Water district in Chico claimed Tuesday it is staying ahead of the curve using education to convince their customers to use less water.

Linda Johnson, a Cal Water customer, uses a bucket to save cold water while she waits for warm water to come out her sink, and she takes the cold water to her garden in her backyard.

She does her civic duty every day to cut back her water usage by 20 percent during this historic drought.

"We don't flush the toilet every time," she said. "I mean you have to do what you have to do."

Not every Californian is following Johnson's example. The State Water Resource Board research shows a one percent increase in water use statewide.

Last week the board approved the fine for anyone wasting water on lawns, cars and sidewalks. The fine will not be applied as long as you follow the guidelines. If you wash your car use a nozzle on your hose with a shut-off valve.

"We have a very strong active conservation program that is really helping," said acting Cal Water/Chico district manager, Pete Bonacich.

Bonacich said when they warn customers they are being wasteful, 95 percent of them change their ways.

"I'm hopeful that we don't have to go down the path of being water cops because that's pretty severe," he said.

Cal Water is waiting on the Public Utilities Commission meeting with state officials to see if they need to take any further action. They said without rain, Chico's water supply will last until the beginning of next year.

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