New California law may publicly disclose names of water guzzlers

A new state law made official on Aug. 29 requires retail urban water providers, including metropolitan areas, water districts and water companies, using more than 3,000 clients to set up place rules that comprise “excessive water use” and impose them during drought emergencies.

As a result, the state top water guzzlers not only face higher water bills, but could have their names made public.

"Households that guzzle water – while their neighbors and most other Californians abide by mandatory reductions – will no longer be able to hide and persist in their excess," said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who wrote the measure.

The bill was supported by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which services 1.4 million people. Last year, the district imposed an ordinance that penalized household using 984 gallons of water or more per day – four times the district’s average household use of 248 gallons a day.

The ordinance charged a penalty of $2 per water unit (each unit is 748 gallons) for all use above 984 gallons a day, according to a story in The Mercury News. Although that amount didn't result in sky-high bills for the district's most heavy water users, it did trigger a requirement in the state Public Records Act that the names of water customers who are fined for excessive use be made public.

Normally, water bills are not public record.

More details here.

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