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California Lawmaker Proposes Steep Tax For Water Guzzlers

Damian Dovarganes / AP
 

Damian Dovarganes / AP

(AP) - A California lawmaker is proposing to let local communities tax the worst water-guzzling residents and businesses as much as 300 percent in the state's historic drought.

Democratic Sen. Bob Wieckowski of Fremont on Tuesday proposed legislation to authorize local water departments to crack down on excessive use by taxing water bills.

But the proposal, SB789, is unlikely to make its way to local water bills anytime soon. The legislation needs support from tax-averse Republicans to pass the state Legislature. Then communities would need support from two-thirds of voters.

State regulators have ordered cities to slash water use by as much as 36 percent.

Gov. Jerry Brown is also proposing a $10,000 fine. However, local water departments have been reluctant to use their current authority to levy fines for water waste.