The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials said last week they will begin taking steps to enforce rules against water waste.
Customers that are identified as using an unusually large amount of water will not be punished immediately, be put on a water conservation plan, under rules approved by the Water and Power Commissioners.
If a customer fails to comply with the water budget set by DWP, penalties may be imposed that range from $1000 to $4000, although depending on the scarcity of the water and drought conditions, the city could charge as high as $40,000 a month for non-compliance.
The higher penalty would only apply if city officials decide to enter a more stringent phase of the city’s water conservation ordinance.
Customers are flagged as “unreasonable” water users if they reach tier 4, the highest rate for water usage. Once identified, the customer’s water use will be analyzed and a conservation plan developed.
Water system manager Marty Adams said the primary goal is to ensure that customers scale back their water use, not to punish them.
“We find that education is a lot more effective than a penalty,” he said. “This ordinance allows us to utilize both a carrot and a stick when combating water overuse. By educating our top users on ways they can save water, we hope they will change their behaviors long term — if not, the penalties kick in.”