Anaheim City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved a set of water use restrictions mandated by the state in response to one of the worst droughts in California history.

City water users can no longer wash down driveways and sidewalks with potable water, allow excess runoff in watering lawns and landscapes, run potable water through fountains or other decorative features, unless the water is recirculated, or use a hose to wash motor vehicles, except when the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, according to a city staff report.

The regulations were imposed on local agencies after the State Water Resources Control Board authorized them in a July 15 emergency meeting. Despite calls by Gov. Jerry Brown for Californians to drastically cut their water usage, data shows water usage statewide has actually increased by 1 percent during a recent three-year period, the SFGate reported. 

In the staff report, city officials sought to distance Anaheim from that finding.

“Over the past 25 years, Anaheim’s overall water use has decreased by 10 percent while the population has increased by 30 percent,” the report claims. “Also, Anaheim’s water use per person has seen a decrease of 15 percent over the past decade.”

The state authorization allows agencies to levy $500 fines on individuals who don’t comply with the restrictions. Agencies that don’t impose the restrictions can be hit with fines of $10,000 per day.

But Anaheim officials say they will not be levying fines on water users. They will instead be focused on an education and outreach campaign, which will include, among other things, posters at libraries, utility bill inserts, banners on street lights and channel 3 public service videos, according to city staff.

“Instead of including enforcement activities, we feel these investments will have longer lasting impacts,” said Public Utilities General Manager Dukku Lee.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.