Amid drought, Beverly Hills moves beyond fines for water wasters

Beverly Hills cracks down on water wasters 02:04

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- In Beverly Hills, where most mega-mansions have huge manicured lawns, the landscape is about to change dramatically.

"A big lawn looks a little odd to us," homeowner Andrea Spatz told CBS News. "It just seems inappropriate."

Facing down a historic drought, Spatz ripped out her lawn, replacing the grass in the backyard with less-thirsty succulents.

"We're trying to lead by example," she said.

California's Water Board says Beverly Hills is one of the state's biggest water wasters. The city is now on notice: Cut consumption 36 percent by next year -- or pay the price.

California ratchets up water restrictions ami... 02:07

"If the city does not comply with those guidelines, then we can be fined up to $10,000 a day," Mayor Julian Gold said.

"Fifty to 60 percent of the water we use goes to watering grass," Gold said. "We can't afford that anymore."

The city has already limited lawn watering to two days a week and is considering fining individual water wasters up to $1,000.

"The fines are not the answer to the question," Gold said. "Even somebody who's got a mega-mansion, with a huge lawn and tons of money, has to understand that at the end of the day, if there's no water coming out of the faucet, it's their faucet also."

He said if the over-watering continues, it may get personal.

"I'm going to go knock on their door and tell them to stop," Gold said. "I think it's going to come down to neighbors policing neighbors."

Andrea Spatz agrees.

"I think it has to become more like smoking, not wearing seat belts, where there's a little bit of a public shaming that being a water waster is considered bad in and of itself, even if you can afford it," she said.

Money may be no object for some people in Beverly Hills. But without water, even those rolling in the green may have trouble staying green.