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.
Strong El Niño forecast expected through Spring.
Despite a potential strong El Niño, the drought in most of California is forecast to continue into a fifth year.
(AP) - A Northern California city has ordered restaurants to cut back on dishwashing by using disposable plates and cups as a way to save water amid the state's fourth year of drought.
Water storage has dwindled at six major reservoirs in California.
(AP) - Residents of the Fresno County city of Clovis will no longer be fined if they use too much water after this month.