- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - San Jose businesses and residents will soon have to restrict their water use or face fines, as the city becomes one of the largest in the state to impose strict water-use limits amid California’s ongoing drought.

Under a plan unveiled Monday by the San Jose Water Co., every business and homeowner in the company’s service area will be given a month-by-month water use figure, the San Jose Mercury News reported (https://bayareane.ws/1IvQfS9 ).

The allocation will be based on the average amount used in 2013 by each customer, with a target reduction of 30 percent.

“We’re going to need to conserve more to make sure there is enough water in 2016 and possibly beyond because we don’t know when this drought is going to end,” said John Tang, a spokesman for the utility.

He declined to provide details about the size of fines.

The new rules have made some residents uneasy.

Michelle Wallace, 38, who shares her townhouse with her three daughters, said she’s sure she will go over her monthly allocation and be fined.

“I never really paid attention to the drought before, and now I’ll have to,” she said.

The plan requires approval by the state Public Utilities Commission, but that is expected. It would take effect in mid-June.

The San Jose Water Co. serves about 80 percent of San Jose’s one million residents.

The restrictions come as the state experiences its fourth year of drought and Gov. Jerry Brown has called for a mandatory 25 percent cut in urban water use compared with 2013 levels.

Similar water restrictions are already in place in Santa Cruz.

And the state’s largest privately held water company, California Water Service Co., is also rolling out a water-use limit plan starting next month, the Mercury News reported. It serves 2 million people in 25 communities from Chico to Palos Verdes.

Most California residents are served by public agencies. In the San Francisco Bay Area, almost no public agencies have announced plans to impose mandatory water limits.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, https://www.mercurynews.com

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