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First Fines In California Drought Issued To Cities And Agencies

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Sprinklers irrigate the field at Kit Carson Middle School, one day after rains swept through the area, in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Regulators are praising the Californians who conserved water in September, but issuing the first fines to four urban water suppliers who waited too late to conserve or failed to enforce conservation standards.

The cities and agencies include Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands, and the Coachella Valley Water District, all in southern California. Cris Carrigan, head of enforcement with the State Water Resources Control Board says they'll each be fined $61,000.

"We could have saved even more water if some residents, businesses and institutions in these communities had stepped up the same way their fellow Californians have," says Carrigan. "Today's enforcement actions recognize this disparity in effort and achievement."

Carrigan says people in those districts who are wasting water should be ashamed.

"I'm sure there are people there that are very conscientious and are doing their part, but for those who aren't and who are wasting water I say, yes, you should be ashamed," says Carrigan.

Water suppliers have 20 days to pay fines or appeal the decision.