California officials install devices to limit water flow at homes that use too much

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Crews with a Southern California water district have started installing devices to limit water flow at homes that use too much water.

The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, which serves communities in western Los Angeles County including Calabasas and Agoura Hills, has installed four water flow restrictors since Wednesday, KABC reported.

The device, about the size of half a dollar, reduces the amount of water a home can use by a “considerable amount” and would remain in place at each home for at least two weeks, according to the outlet. Those who remove the devices will be fined $2,500.

Mike McNutt with the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District told KABC that he hopes the devices will show residents that officials will not tolerate residents using too much water during a severe drought.

“We had 20 and we dwindled down because, of course, there was people at the last minute that were saying we want to sign this commitment form so we only installed four,” McNutt said.

“We’re getting people to pay attention, and they’re saying we need to be part of the solution.”

The water district also started once-weekly watering restrictions on Wednesday, with exceptions for the hand-watering of trees and other perennials, drip irrigation systems and areas irrigated with recycled water.

In early April, the water district announced that the amount of water allotted for outdoor uses would be reduced from 75% to 50% based on drought conditions after “a historic three-month stretch of the driest winter months on record.”

“Outdoor water uses, such as filling pools and landscape irrigation, account for up to 70% of all residential water usage, so here lies the greatest opportunity for savings. Much of the low-hanging fruit to reduce water use indoors has already been ‘picked,'” the water district said in a news release.

“Most customers have installed water-efficient appliances, low-flow toilets and shower heads, and do a pretty good job of turning off the faucet when they brush their teeth and take shorter showers.”

It was not immediately clear if any restrictions have been imposed specifically on commercial enterprises notorious for high water consumption, such as golf courses and cemeteries.

The Southern California Golf Association in April advised golf courses to start conserving water before facing mandatory restrictions, according to the golf course maintenance industry news portal TurfNet.

“Document what you are doing and be a good corporate and environmental citizen and life will go better for us,” the golf association’s public affairs director Craig Kessler told TurfNet.

“I still think we’re going to see mandatory restrictions, but we won’t see mandatory restrictions like what we saw before. I believe it will be much more nuanced, and not like the numbers that were assigned before.”

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