The drought provides a new angle for illegal contractors to fleece the unwary.
“We’re starting to find unlicensed contractors out there kind of preying on people’s hopes to be able to have a nice yard but also being able to save water at the same time," says Rick Lopes, with California’s Contractors State License Board or CSLB, one of the state’s leading consumer protection agencies.
Earlier this month, the board conducted a sting operation in the Sacramento area and caught 11 people engaged in illegal contracting.
Lopes says hiring an unlicensed contractor is just a bad idea.
“There’s a good chance that they’re going to try to come in and lowball a bid to try to get the job and to get you to make a big down payment," he says.
Lopes says unlicensed contractors are also typically not covered by worker’s compensation insurance. That means if a worker gets hurt on your job, you may get stuck with the medical bills.
Lopes says before you hire a contractor make sure the business has a current state-issued license and check with the CSLB's website first.
The U.S. Drought Center says the past week brought "widespread improvements" in drought conditions in northern California and Nevada.
California's energy grid manager says supply should be adequate for the summer, despite potential natural gas shortages in Southern California.
California water regulators will allow cities and water agencies to set their own conservation targets based on water supply.
Fire agencies are expected to continue prescribed burn operations this week in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Severe and extreme drought were reduced slightly in California and 10 percent of the state is completely free of drought.