Posted on: May 12, 2015

CVWD adopts drought penalties, additional restrictions

CVWD Board Meeting

The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Board of Directors today approved drought penalties and additional water-use restrictions designed to encourage water conservation during the ongoing drought.

The measures approved by the board are in response to the mandated statewide 25% potable water-use reduction, as outlined in Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s executive order of April 1. Areas with higher per-capita water use, including CVWD, have been told by the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce by 36%.

Under the drought penalties plan, CVWD domestic water customers will be asked to reduce their monthly outdoor water use 36% below their normal water budget. Water use above that line will be assessed a drought penalty. This approach will reward those who have already taken steps to reduce water use.

The drought penalty, which will show up on customer bills beginning in July, is designed to encourage conservation and pay for additional conservation programs to help customers reduce their water use.

New and existing water-use restrictions adopted by the board today and effective immediately include:

  • Application of water to outdoor landscaping during and within 48 hours after measureable rainfall is prohibited.
  • Irrigation of ornamental turf on public street medians is prohibited.
  • Broken sprinklers shall be repaired within 24 hours of notification and leaks will be repaired as soon as practical.
  • The serving of drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, cafes, cafeterias, bars, or other public places where food or drink are served and/or purchased is prohibited.
  • Hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily. Hotels and motels shall prominently display notice of this option in each guestroom using clear and easily understood language.
  • Applying water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures is prohibited.
  • Applying water to any hard surface including, but not limited to, driveways, sidewalks, and asphalt is prohibited.
Exceptions to the above restrictions are available when an immediate health, safety or sanitation need exists.

Those who ignore the new restrictions will be fined. The fines include a written warning for first violation, $50 for second violation (although violators can attend “water school” in lieu of the fine), $100 for third violation, and $200 for fourth and subsequent violations. The fines will be added to the customer’s water bill.

CVWD staff has met with area cities to encourage a 36% reduction in medians and non-recreation turf areas and to ask cities to suspend code enforcement for people who allow their residential turf to turn brown.

Before its decision at today’s meeting, the board heard in two public meetings from many residents who voiced opinions about possible water-use restrictions.

“We have heard from the public at our meetings and when we have attended community events,” said John Powell, board president. “This water-conservation strategy is based on all that input. The public has shaped this process to a great degree.”

More information about the drought penalty and about the current water use restrictions is available on the district’s website at

The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.

News Release Contacts
Heather Engel,, Ext. 2353
Diane Carmony,, Ext. 2315

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