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Oceanside shuts the faucet on water wasters

OCEANSIDE — Water wasters will not be tolerated after June 1.

As California heads into its fifth year of drought, Oceanside City Council adopted a set of strict water conservation measures May 20.

Interim Water Utilities Director Jason Dafforn said the city appreciates conservation efforts already made by residents and businesses.

Then he shared new rules that will reduce water use by another 20 percent.

New regulations cut landscape irrigation to two days a week, require leaks to be fixed immediately and do not allow watering for two days after a rain.

Updates to prior measures also prohibit water runoff from homes and businesses, and do not allow hard surfaces to be hosed off.

The use of potable water to irrigate turf on public street medians is prohibited.

The city will also keep a sharper eye on construction sites to ensure water restrictions are being followed.

Dafforn said the city would hire extra staff to ensure rules are followed.

Prior conservation measures already asked residents and businesses to water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m., and use a hose with a positive shut-off nozzle.

Restaurants were called on to serve water only upon request. Hotels were asked to make daily laundering of linens optional for long-stay guests. And builders were requested to use nonpotable water for construction purposes when available.

These measures are now mandatory.

City workers will be on morning and evening patrol to cite any violators. Fines for noncompliance start at $100, and increase to $1,000 if a problem persists.

Dafforn said a warning will be given before the first fine, and the city will work with residents and businesses to meet water conservation goals.

The mandatory water cutbacks are in response to the governor issuing a state of emergency and will be in effect through February 2016.

California cities are asked to reduce water use by 12 to 36 percent over 2013 water use levels.

If cities fail to implement a plan to restrict outdoor water use by June 1, they could face a fine of up to $10,000 a day per violation.