“Sacramento City Council members last night voted to require water customers to reduce their water use by 20 percent.” (Sacramento City Council Mandates Water Use Reductions, City of Sacramento press release 2014-01-15)
“Part of the reason we’re not using the meters as a method of enforcement is we’re not looking to put folks out of business,” said Jessica Hess, spokeswoman for the city of Sacramento’s Department of Utilities. “But if we can help encourage them to find different ways to use water, maybe they can find other savings elsewhere (such as converting to low-flow toilets). Maybe it’s not 20 percent, but at least we’re trying to help contribute to the solution.” (Water cuts: It’s honor system, SacBee 2014-01-29)
Mandatory: required by a law or rule : obligatory (Merriam Webster Dictionary online)
The message, as I hear it, is: Cutbacks are mandatory, but we don’t really mean it, and certainly we don’t want to inconvenience anyone.