Citizens help enforce watering restrictions

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New watering restrictions by the state are designed to remind Californians the state is in a drought. (KFSN)

New watering restrictions by the state are designed to remind Californians the state is in a drought.

Those restrictions which call for fines of up to $500 for wasting water will only apply in communities where there are currently no water restrictions.

Most Central Valley cities will not be affected because they already have watering rules in place.

The city of Fresno doesn't have to patrol the streets to enforce their watering restrictions. They are getting plenty of help from the neighbors.

Sprinklers along West Shaw were running for hours, when somebody called the City's Water Conservation Department.

"We got a call from a reporting party they came here at 8 sometime the water was on and then they left at 11 the water is still on," said Tou Moua. "They were very upset the water was still on."

City Water Conservation Representative, Tou Moua, managed to turn off the water.

Derek Cosper, an electrician working for the building owner soon arrived and said a power outage had tripped the system and caused a malfunction in the automatic sprinklers.

"See what happened was it happened in the middle of the night," said Cosper. "These guys didn't call me until right now. Now we've got everybody coming out here to fix it. The thing is quite a bit of water came out which is not good for us."

In accidental situations like this a notice is issued. There's no fine unless it becomes a repeat problem. City inspectors are on the run dealing with water complaints round the clock.

Conservation Supervisor Nora Laikam says the drought has made the public a lot more aware of the problem, and more willing to complain.

Laikam explained, "We get well over a hundred calls a day also e mail, complaints, usually neighbors reporting neighbors."

The goal is to catch those watering on the wrong day or at the wrong time in the act. Moua responded to a complaint in the Fig Garden area that the watering at one house was "always on." But on arrival he found no water running and no evidence of improper watering. Laikam says such vague complaints are a common problem.

"If they call or send us an email saying they water all the time and we get those all the time, it's really difficult to narrow it down," Laikam explained.

But it is a sign somebody is watching.

"I would say the volume has increased because of the drought and people's concerns about will there be enough water and just really irritating them if they have made a change and their neighbor hasn't." Laikam said.

The city of Fresno will usually issue one warning, then impose a $45 fine if there's a second offense. If there are four violations, water can be shut off, but it rarely comes to that.

Moua told Action News, "For the most part we get a good response from people. You have a few folks who don't know we are in the drought and don't care."

Related Topics:
california waterwaterdroughtcalifornia
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