SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica has updated its Water Use Allowance and will implement fines for residents who fail to reduce their water usage by 20 percent from their 2013 water bills.

As California entered a fourth year of drought in January 2015, the Santa Monica City Council adopted the Water Shortage Response Plan (WSRP), which imposed an automatic $1,000 penalty for water wasters who didn’t meet the restrictions.

“We will focus on people who have not taken any action to cut back on their water use” and will be “looking for egregious water wasters,” stated Dean Kubani, Manager of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment.

After an unanimous vote on Tuesday, September 8, the Santa Monica City Council approved three different penalties for water use violations: $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and a maximum fine of $1,000 for a third offense. 

Kubani explained to the City Council that the second and third penalty is enforced only if the water abuse occurs within 12 months of the prior wrong. The extra time is allotted to allow residents time to meet the 20 percent reduction. “The City’s goal continues to be helping water customers achieve these reductions and to avoid assessing penalties wherever possible,” said Kubani.

Starting in October, the city will notify residents of their penalties with a warning before issuing fines depending on the degree of the offense. Residents will be able to have their first violation waived through the completion of the “water school” online course.

Cities are installing waterless urinals to conserve water
Cities are installing waterless urinals to conserve water

Between the months of June and August 2015, the cumulative water saving surpassed Santa Monica’s requirement by 22.5 percent. In June, city facilities recorded a 52 percent water reduction compared to June 2013. The savings were made possible by “investing in new water conservation practices and technologies.”

“Santa Monica residents and businesses have done an outstanding job saving water over the past year.  But for those customers who haven’t yet taken steps to cut their water use, we are committed to helping them come into compliance before any penalties are assessed.  Our goal is not to issue penalties, but rather to exceed our conservation targets.”

The city will host a free Landscape Rebate Training events at the Airport Demonstration Garden on October 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Customers will be given the opportunity to gain direct landscaping knowledge and advice from designers and architects.

For further information regarding the Water Use Allowance and further events visit or contact the city at (310) 458-8972.