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SACRAMENTO – Stamping out incorrect social-media information is like trying to halt those computer viruses that multiply bad files every time you close one. You can sometimes convince someone that the story isn’t quite right – only to see it pop up on myriad other feeds. After trying to serve as the “truth police” recently, I finally gave up. There are so many real problems to worry about, but lots of people seem determined to be upset by bogus ones.

The specific story involved water rationing. Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed two conservation-related laws in 2018 that were supposedly going into effect on Jan. 1. According to various social-media and blog posts, the new laws banned Californians from showering and doing laundry on the same day. Apparently, water inspectors would monitor each person’s water usage – and impose fines of $1,000 a day on water-wasting scofflaws.

In reality, the laws do not impose any such individual water limits. They “set water efficiency standards for utilities to follow in the decades to come,” explained the Sacramento Bee. The 55-gallon daily standards are systemwide average targets (by 2023). Any fines would come from the agencies, so ratepayers could technically be on the hook – but only in an indirect way. The allotments are close to the water levels Californians typically use in a day, anyway.

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