State Bill is Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown to Expose Water Rule Breakers as an Alternative "Shaming" Tactic

On Monday, August 29, 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed new Hill's Senate Bill 814, that allows water suppliers to use extreme measures to prevent waste and unreasonable use of water in California during one of the most severe droughts documented in the last century. Existing law states that a violation of water conservation program can be punished by "imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 30 days, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both."

The new bill targets single-family homes and multiunit housing complexes. Dealing with water violators is up to the local water agencies. According to the bill, they must establish a method to identify and discourage excessive water use, several options included:

1. Enable a personalized tiered-rate structure that allows establishing surcharges over and above rates for excessive water use by a residential water customer, simply put, charge more for violations.

2. Perform site audit of customer water usage before considering the client in violation. The civil administrative penalty may include, but is not limited to, a fine of up to $500 for each 100 cubic feet of water (748 gallons) above the excessive water use threshold. Any fine will be added to the customer's water bill.

When this bill takes its effect on January 1, 2017, the names of water-guzzlers who aren't compliant with California conservation standards could be made public, a shaming strategy that supposedly will work better for some people who don't mind paying extra $500 for every 748 gallons above the excessive use definition.

The bill makes mandatory requirements more flexible for urban water suppliers. As a result, they can charge higher rates to their clients, and use different technics to prevent water waste. A public record act allows requesting a list of rule breakers.

The bill was inspired by egregious Southern California stories about extreme water violators who ignore the statewide drought. It was drafted based on a San Mateo resident's suggestion in Hill's "Oughta Be A Law Contest" that had provisions requiring the make the names of excessive water users public. The "shaming in public" tactic used successfully by the East Bay Municipal Utility District who listed a list of nearly 1,000 water rule breakers, not just can be used by any local water authority, but will become a requirement at the beginning of 2017. Now every single home resident is under a siege.

Due to a slight El Niño climate improvements, on May 18, 2016, the California Water Boards adopted a new emergency water conservation regulations to replace the February state-developed, demand-driven standards with locally developed standards based on each supplier specific water supply reliability conditions. According to the proposal, urban water agencies are required to reduce potable water use by a percentage equivalent to the projected shortfall in the three-dry-years scenario.

While most expected El Niño to lift the drought threat, California is experiencing the temperature increase that causes more surface water to evaporate. Mountain snow and rain fell short of expectations. The amount of water collected in the snow for the Sierra Nevada average 14 percent below normal on April 1, 2016. The Southern Sierra is 27 percent below normal compared to 5 percent in the north. The snow that falls in the winter accounts for roughly 30 percent of California's water supply.

The US Drought Monitor reports that fifty-five percent of California is suffering from extreme to severe drought in 2016. This is a far cry from what most had hoped would be a drought-lifting season due to the strong El Niño.

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is projecting a 75% chance of La Niña developing during this fall. La Niña is a counterpart of El Niño. While El Niño represents a warming of ocean temperatures, La Niña is a cooling pattern in the Pacific, usually 3-5 degrees Celsius.

It may not sound like much, but the cooling effect can lead to a variety of climate phenomena, from increased rainfall, catastrophic floods, cyclones, and hurricanes to extremely dry conditions. These conditions can persist for up to two years. Both La Niña and El Niño severe effects on atmospheric pressure, rainfall patterns and the global atmospheric circulation (massive movement of air.)

Dave Pierce, the researcher of Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate center, believes that La Niña will enhance the chances of a dry winter, the most promising season to release the drought conditions. It's a 75 percent chance prediction, but it gives a reason to think California will not emerge from the drought anytime soon. The drought can get even worse.

Historically, a strong La Niña in 1973-1974 was very wet in California. The 1975-1976 La Niña caused the two-year drought. On average, it tends to be wetter in the Northwest Pacific and drier as you go south.

No matter El Niño or La Niña, the State Water Resources Control Board is encouraging Californians to keep conserving water. It expects local water suppliers to set water conservation as a top priority. 60 percent of the state remains in severe drought. Groundwater basins and reservoirs are depleted as California drought grinds into its fifth year. The state Water Action Plain "Make Conservation a California Way of Life" is an ongoing effort for residents and agencies alike. A wider effort to establish permanent conservation measures that improve long-term drought zeal and prevent the worst water-wasting practices.

Grass makes for faster-moving tennis ball than clay or concrete surfaces, the Wimbledons fast magic has been spoken for decades.

More and more people of arid west abandoning grass with gusto. With the growing consideration of water-saving landscape alternatives, the most prominent grass- autocratic tournaments, Wimbledon, is considering a controversial move to an artificial playing surface.

Lab-approved ways to disaster-proof your home

Whether you’re an owner or a renter, stay one step ahead of fires, leaks, floods and worse with our expert advice to avoid costly repairs and keep your family safe.

Publicly Accessible Synthetic Turf Fields in Los Angeles

Wondering where to find public parks with synthetic turf fields in the Greater Los Angeles Area? Global Syn-Turf to the rescue! (With the help of For visitors and residents of Los Angeles who are looking to get your synthetic turf exercise on, here's a (almost) comprehensive list of all of the synthetic turf fields in the city of Los Angeles. This is a list of public fields that have adopted synthetic turf as their surface in the Greater Los Angeles Area, courtesy of

TUESDAYS- SUNDAYS The Mercer Society Gift and Plant Shoppe 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays at 400 Main, Old Town Spring; 281-651-5475, Sales proceeds benefit flood-damaged Mercer Botanic Gardens. SATURDAY Wildscapes Workshop Native Plant Society of Texas-Houston Chapter event. 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Houston Community College, 5601 West Loop S.; registration at, $35-$40.

The controversy about rather keep wasting millions of gallons of water every year or revamp the San Francisco's Beach Chalet Soccer Fields is still an ongoing six years debate. People love their soccer fields that have been a wildlife habitat for various species of animals and birds, but the management of the city parks has several concerns.

Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Parks and Recreation director, does not question the safety of the field pierced with the gopher's holes. The injuries are inevitable, and the surface is dangerous for athletes and children to play on. A recent water drought in California screams for the artificial grass along with rising water and maintenance costs.

This year's Subaru Fall Festival at Greensgrow Farms in Kensington will take place Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All ages are invited to the urban farm to enjoy live music, local food and drink, and crafts from local vendors.

This summer of 2014 in July, scientists, policy experts, guests and economists gathered for or the annual meeting of the International Conference on Climate Change, organized by the Heartland Institute to discuss one of the greatest controversies of the contemporary era, global warming. Their choice for a meeting? The lovely Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

On the facade, it seems like the perfect place. Vegas is built on fakery and rejection. It's a megalopolis of 2 million people designed to resemble any other town in United States with the dazzling desert around it. It makes us feel rich and takes our last penny.

This Life: Children who attend religious services are happier adults

Children who attend religious services less likely to use drugs, take other risks

The new NFL season hasn't even begun, and the Green Bay Packers from Wisconsin State have exceptional football sports players with injuries. The city of Milwaukee believes that the stadium decay is behind those injuries. Thus, they are planning to renovate the football field with artificial grass to prevent future injuries.

The first player that went down is a nose tackle B.J. Raji, who could not play for a year due to a torn biceps muscle. Fans believe that it will be hard on the team without having him there. In the second season, the player Josh Boyd will stand for Raji, although he has yet to get on the practice field because of injuries and it is a long way of contributing to the team's success. Another football player must be replaced with rookie Corey Linsley due to the injury, although his injury is not going to cause the season to end. Still, he will miss at least the first five games of the regular season. Down the road, they managed to overcome an injury that puts Aaron Rodgers on the bench last year for seven games, and they still won the final game, which should be able to match the final totals at least this season.

Lizzie features some killer performances

The story of how Lizzie Borden was accused in 1892 of taking an ax and killing her father and stepmother has been fodder for films, TV shows, a rock musical and a child’s jump rope game. Although Borden was acquitted of the murders, the general thinking is that she got away with murder.

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Kusamas true medium might be expression of her state of mind

In the afterglow of the most Instagrammable art exhibition ever, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” - a show that drew nearly 160,000 visitors to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., last year, and is currently a popular draw at the Cleveland Museum of Art - you may have found yourself wanting to know more about the enigmatic maker of eye-popping work.

Website for genealogy research pulls together all things DNA related

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Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts suffers brain injury

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There are hundreds of railroad museums and scenic train rides all across the United States. Many of them offer the opportunity to “step back in time” or “relive yesteryear.” But few deliver on that promise quite like the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad - a 64-mile, narrow-gauge route across the rugged San Juan Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado that has gone nearly unchanged since the last freight train rumbled over Cumbres Pass 50 years ago. Unlike other museums that are a hodgepodge of old trains from different places, nearly all the locomotives and cars of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic are original to the railroad they run on today.

Ahead of 55th anniversary at the Houston Galleria, Tiffany & Co. presents 1994 and 1995 NBA Championship trophies to Robert Horry and Clyde Drexler

Center City District (CCD) Restaurant Week returns this Sunday, Sept. 23 to Friday, Oct. 5, featuring more than 100 participating restaurants that are offering three-course, prix-fixe meals at at a discount. With so many options, figuring out where to go and what to order can be overwhelming. We chatted with a few CCD Restaurant Week insiders to get tips on how to navigate CCD Restaurant Week like a pro, and even got some restaurant recommendations.

On Saturday, Blackney Hayes Architects will host a mini-golf fundraiser with Drexel College of Engineering. Funds from the event will go to the Jamel C. Morris Foundation, which provides scholarships to promising low-income African-American students to attend Drexel University's College of Engineering.

Fashion Speaks on the Creek set for Sept. 30

Fashion Speaks on the Creek, a special needs fashion show, returns for its third year on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Review: Gerstein, Spano bring the unexpected to ASO season opener

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Listening is big part of loving someone

Certain things are predictable in church on Sunday. You can bet there will be little girls in sparkly shoes, ladies in lovely dresses and a baby screaming bloody murder at the high point of the sermon.

The news of Anthony Bourdain's death this past June shocked the world. He wasn't just a celebrity.…

“It’s a sexy, quirky Thursday night,” Bells Atlas singer Sandra Lawson-Ndu announced to the crowd midway through the band’s set at the New Parish.…

The last time J Balvin was at Oracle arena was back on Feb. 15, 2015 when he was the opening act for Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias' joint tour. I was at that show with my mom as my date, and vividly remember her saying, “one day he’s going to headline his own tour here.” I brushed off her comment, it wasn’t that I didn’t believe that he was talented.…

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