By Grace Wong and Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and
Jim Steinberg, San Bernardino Sun
Posted: 04/04/15 – 10:37 AM PDT

The governor’s order last week that all of California cut urban water use by 25 percent could be heard all the way to Ed Neighbors’ lawn in North Fontana.

The retired Fontana school teacher would prefer to have “a nice green yard,” but as the state withers its way through extreme drought, he and his wife plan to take out grass, at least in less visible portions of their front lawn and in the backyard, and, pending approval of a homeowners association, will be putting in some type of drought-resistant plants. And maybe some rocks.

He’s not exactly looking forward to the expense.

But then again, this is unprecedented.

After hearing the governor’s decision to enact drastic water cutbacks, Neighbors said his initial reaction was “What took you so long?”

The order has rippled across the state and into the Inland Empire, forcing homeowners like Neighbors, businesses, water agencies and cities to re-evaluate what they’ve already done to cutback voluntarily, and what they can still do.

In the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown’s order, there will be a price to pay: $10,000 in fines for each day cities, counties and water agencies are out of compliance with their water allocation targets.

Inland Empire governments are already planning action.

In Pomona, the City Council will be asked April 20 to approve a new level of conservation measure, beyond the permanent water restrictions in place since 2009, following the last water shortage.

In Upland – where outdoor irrigation accounts for about 75 percent of the city’s water use – officials are already talking about having to “step up their efforts” even after a plan already established that restricts outdoor irrigation by residents and other water users based on even days of the month if their address ended with an even digit.

In Ontario, the Public Works Commission reviewed the matter Wednesday night and city staffers are recommending that the city go into Stage III High Water Conservation Alert, from state II, which suggests a whole new level of restrictions and enforcement on residents and businesses.

For some, like Neighbors and his wife, in Fontana, going drought-resistant is a worthy sacrifice.

Golf courses that use non-potable or recycled water are exempt from the governor’s cutback orders, Ray said.

About 33 percent of California’s golf courses use recycled or non-potable water, Ray said.

To read entire story, click here.