Visalia's Considering a Stricter Water Conservation Policy

June 27, 2008 7:24:36 PM PDT
Audrey Pineda spends most of her summer driving around Visalia, checking people's lawns for violations of the city's watering policy.A violation is usually pretty obvious. At one neighborhood in Visalia, a hose was left out to water shrubs. Water ran down almost the entire block. Audrey Pineda takes pictures of the evidence and writes up a violation notice.

Audrey Pineda says, "Most people try to comply. There are people that just don't know."

Even and odd numbered addresses must water on alternate days of the week. Plus, there's no watering on Mondays. Leslie Caviglia of the city's Natural Resources Department says, "Also, if they're going to wash their car they must use a shut off nozzle and a bucket and a brush. You can't just hose it down and leave the water running while you go off to the side." If a person violates the watering policy four times they face a $100 fine. Now, the city of Visalia wants to hold people even more accountable.

Right now the city is operating under a Stage Three, mandated water conservation measure, the highest level. The city is considering creating a Stage Four. The city may increase watering violation fines and create a landscape ordinance to help preserve the city's valuable water during this dry summer and state-declared drought.

Caviglia says, "We are in a water deficit basin. There's a large cone of depression that's underneath the city because we're using more water than we're actually able to get into the underground."

For now, the city relies on Audrey to catch any evidence of water wasting. She says it can be easy for homeowners who see dry, yellow grass on their lawns to want to use their sprinklers all day. Audrey says watering late at night and early in the morning will do the trick. Audrey Pineda, "It's critical. Every drop of water we save, the better off we are."

The City Council will consider a stricter water conservation policy at their meeting on July 14th.


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