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As California grapples with its worst drought level in decades, residents feel its impact in areas ranging from the economy to daily water usage.

The California State Water Resources Control Board approved a $500-a-day fine for watering down hard surfaces outdoors after a recent report that shows state water usage increased in the past year. The regulations will go into affect Aug. 1.

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Another report, by the University of California-Davis, suggests the drought will continue into 2015, even if an El Niño should come through.

•Daily impacts

People in the Golden State have been asked to stop using water to wash down their driveways, sidewalks and landscapes. Using a hose to wash cars has also been prohibited.

Companies such as Nestle continue to draw water from California springs despite the drought.

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DROUGHT: Calif. OKs $500 fines for wasting water

•Swap out your water-wasting green lawn

An ongoing L.A. program is giving people $3 a square foot to replace their green lawns with drought-resistant turf.

When it started in 2009, the program originally gave only $1, but the city increased the price two months ago. Martin Adams, deputy senior assistant general manager of water system at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said he's seen increased participation, and nearly 9 million square feet of lawn has been turned in.

He said Los Angeles has had strict regulations on water conservation for five years, including restricting water lawns to three times a week for 8 minutes and limiting the water served in restaurants.

In the last six months, Adams said the department has tried to reinforce that messaging to address excess water use outdoors.

The LADWP also has a unit that patrols neighborhoods for excess water use, such as sprinklers left on at certain times. The unit gives out a couple warnings before fines.

•Prices rise with the heat

UC-Davis' report suggests consumer prices will stay unaffected by the drought. If prices increase, the report stipulates, the culprit will be market demand.

Paul Wegner, president of the California Farmers Bureau Federation, said he doesn't quite buy that theory. Come fall, he says, when California is one of the only states producing seasonal crops such as melons, corn and peppers, prices should increase and affect what kinds of produce people buy at grocery stores.

"If they go into the store and see the prices have risen, they're going to choose not to buy it," Wegner added.

Chris Christopher, director of consumer economics at IHS, said there has been an increase in consumer food prices in February and that the drought in California is just one part of that equation.

Nationally, Christopher says that lower income households have seen the largest impact on their wallets generally speaking when it comes to food buying.​

"The higher income households don't spend as much on food at home," he said.

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California steaming: State's hot year worsens drought

•Economic woes

The statewide economic cost of the 2014 drought is expected to total around $2.2 billion, the UC-Davis report showed. The report finds direct costs of $810 million from crop revenue loss, $203 million from the loss of livestock and dairy revenue and $454 million from the additional costs to pump groundwater to keep production going.

428,000 acres of irrigated cropland has gone out of production, the report finds, mostly in California's Central Valley, Central Coast and in Southern California. And with that, 17,100 part-time jobs have been lost, which is nearly 4% of farm unemployment.

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