Coachella Valley Water District Implements Drought Penalties

Carmela Karcher

Riverside County is in its fourth driest year to date over the past 128 years.

With that said, it’s possible your water bill could go up.

“Drought penalties are part of the Level Two conservation actions in our Water Shortage Contingency Plan,” Coachella Valley Water District Communications Specialist, Lorraine Garcia, explained.

Tuesday, the Coachella Valley Water District’s Board Of Directors approved drought penalties for people who use too much water.

But this is for outdoor use only.

“Tier Two is what’s considered your outdoor water budget,” Garcia continued. “That is calculated by your landscape size, the lot type and that sort of thing. So with a reduction by 10%, that means that anything used within that budget of 90%, you would not see a penalty. Then anything above the 90% is when the 29 cent per unit penalty would incur.”

If customers go beyond Tier Two, they will see significant charges.

  • Tier Three: $1.80 per 100 cubic feet
  • Tier Four: $3.16 per 100 cubic feet
  • Tier Five: $6.44 per 100 cubic feet


But, this isn’t new for customers.

“We have implemented drought penalties before,” Garcia said. “We found success in reducing outdoor water use when we implemented drought penalties in 2015.”

Because of that, CVWD estimates about 60% of their customers will not be affected by the penalty.

But if you’re worried you fall in that 40%, CVWD has some tips.

“They can do things like maybe reduce outdoor watering a few minutes per day,” Garcia continued. “They can apply for a smart irrigation controller. Just looking at your irrigation system, you know, are there broken sprinklers, is it running water onto the streets and sidewalks, are there some small changes that can be made to just make it more water efficient?”

Revenue from these penalties will be used in funding additional conservation programs.

These penalties are temporary and are scheduled to start in August, all in order to meet state conservation goals.

For more information about these drought penalties, click here.

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