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California Agency Considers Water Prices To Save In Drought

Richard Vogel / File / AP

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2014, file photo, morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles along the Hollywood Freewaympast an electronic sign warning of severe drought.

Richard Vogel / File / AP

(AP) - California water regulators are discussing how to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's order for water rates that maximize conservation during a historic drought.

The State Water Resources Control Board is hosting a Wednesday workshop to discuss how to encourage Californians to save by hitting them in the wallet.

Two-thirds of water districts use some form of tiered water pricing. They were thrown in question earlier this year after a court of appeals struck down one city's bills because a voter-approved law requires rates tied to the cost of service.

The water board also ordered communities to slash water use as much as 36 percent to preserve supplies during the drought. That mandatory conservation is expected to leave water departments with a $1 billion hole in revenue they'll pass on to customers.