Tight water restrictions, including $500-a-day fines, that go into effect August 1 were approved late Tuesday by regulators, who added a last-minute surprise: Water agencies will be required to track and report water use based on gallons per person per day beginning in October.
Any municipal employee whom local officials empower will be able to write a ticket for an offense.
Will private enterprises spring up to start operating water schools? A wave of businesses will probably emerge to help people cope with the crisis. Santa Cruz has already started a water school, similar to traffic school, to combat the anger being generated by enormous monthly water bills and fines (one family's bill had grown from $60 a month to $1,700, including punishments).
During the first month of rationing, 1,635 account holders wound up generating $341,000 worth of fines, including one for $4,000. Thousands of dollars in penalties can be washed away in exchange for an hour and a half or two hours of education.