Watering lawns is illegal under the new excessive water ban in California. (Photo: Screenshot/CBS News)

Watering lawns is illegal under the new excessive water ban in California. (Photo: Screenshot/CBS News)

California passed a statewide water ban earlier this month that outlaws excessive use of water, including watering lawns and washing cars at home using hoses without a shutoff nozzle. On Tuesday those laws took effect, and the price of violations is steep.

According to The Sacramento Bee:

The new regulations also forbid using a hose to wash a vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shutoff nozzle; and operating a decorative fountain, unless the water recirculates. The regulations apply to both residents and business owners, and will remain in force for 270 days, unless renewed.

Although many local water agencies already have such prohibitions in effect, they are not universal.

In addition, acts of water waste can now be prosecuted as a criminal infraction, subject to fines of $500 per day. And all large local water agencies are now required to activate their water waste contingency plans, if they have one, to limit outdoor landscape watering, which accounts for 50 percent or more of most urbanwater consumption. If agencies do not have such a plan, they are required to restrict outdoor watering to no more than two days per week.

The long-lasting water shortage in California has been closely followed by the car wash industry, which is frequently pegged as a source of unnecessary water waste. This year, however, the International Carwash Association and local owners have taken major steps to demonstrate their efficiencies. Car wash marketing campaigns like WaterSavers seem to have been largely successful.

It’s likely the new regulations in California will encourage drivers to visit their local car wash rather than risk a $500 fine.