DISASTERS

California water-wasters elude fines as drought persists, local agencies avoid enforcement

FILE -- In this March 11, 2014 file photo  Steve Upton, right, demonstrates how to use the water timer he installed on the water spigot at the home of Larry Barber, left, in Sacramento, Calif.  Upton, an inspector for the water conservation unit of the Sacramento Utilities Department, follows up on tips concerning city residents wasting water in one of California's driest years on record.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file)

FILE -- In this March 11, 2014 file photo Steve Upton, right, demonstrates how to use the water timer he installed on the water spigot at the home of Larry Barber, left, in Sacramento, Calif. Upton, an inspector for the water conservation unit of the Sacramento Utilities Department, follows up on tips concerning city residents wasting water in one of California's driest years on record. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file)  (The Associated Press)

Local water departments are reluctant to crack down on water-wasters during the drought, even though the state is allowing $500 fines.

Californians from the coast to the desert aren't allowed to hose down driveways or drench their lawns under state restrictions. But regulators aren't tracking how the rules are enforced.

The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday will vote to add more restrictions and to start tracking enforcement.

The Associated Press found wide disparities in how cities ensure residents follow water rules.

Santa Cruz saw huge water savings while issuing more than $1.6 million in fines. Coachella hasn't sent warning letters to houses with big water guzzling lawns in the desert.

And in a service area of nearly 4 million, Los Angeles only issued a pair of $200 fines.