ANTIOCH -- With no end to the statewide drought in sight, Antioch officials on Tuesday reaffirmed the city's ordinance against squandering water.
Council members approved a resolution that adds four wasteful practices to Antioch's drought management plan; although the prohibited activities have been on the books for five years, the action made the plan's language consistent with that in the Municipal Code.
The rules ban residents from using city water to:
Even before the drought prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in January, state law allowed cities to fine individuals up to $500 per day if they ignore these rules. And if municipalities do not enforce the prohibitions, they risk having to shell out as much as $10,000 per day.
On Tuesday, Public Works Director Ron Bernal explained that the city is taking other steps before turning to this last resort. It has set up a dedicated hotline that residents can call to report sightings of water being wasted, whether it is because the city's own sprinklers are working overtime or because a neighbor is letting the hose run freely while washing his car.
His field personnel will investigate the complaints and first try to teach offenders the importance of conserving water before bringing in code enforcement officers, who can start issuing fines, Bernal said.
In addition to highlighting particularly wasteful habits, the city has been encouraging residents to reduce their overall water consumption by 15 percent and the amount they use outdoors by 25 percent.
The demand for city water last month was 14 percent less than that in July 2013.
As a result of a resolution that the state Water Resources Control Board adopted last month, urban water suppliers also will be under greater scrutiny: Starting in October, cities not only must report the volume of water they produce each month, but also show how that compares with that month's total 12 months earlier.
They also will be required to break the information down further, estimating how many gallons each resident uses per day.
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.