California Drought Restrictions Raise Concerns For Public Health


Outdoor water usage is the latest target as California state officials consider increased water regulations in the fight against continued drought.

The state has faced a water shortage for three continuous years, and is now looking into legislature to limit waste. Proposed fines would be for violations that include water runoff from landscaping, fountains with drinking water, washing cars without a shut-off nozzle, and hosing down sidewalks and pavement.

Violations could come with fines of up to $500 a day.

But while such measurements may be good in the fight against water shortage, they may create problems in other areas. In cities like San Francisco, which has a high homeless population and relies on flusher trucks and spray washers to keep pavement and walkways free of human excrement, such policies raise health and sanitary concerns.

Public Works Department spokeswoman Rachel Gordon voiced concerns over the impact on city street clean up. “Our very strong concern is that human feces or heavy urination, which we get quite a few complains about, still get cleaned up,” she said, citing public health concerns.

City officials worry that should the public health concerns not be met, tourism of the city could be negatively impacted by the potential smell and waste on the streets.