City of Clovis meeting state-imposed water-saving goal

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley cities have been collecting fines from residents who haven't been reducing their water usage, as mandated by the state. The city of Clovis fielded hundreds of phone calls when it instituted the mandatory cutbacks, but residents are actually now meeting the state-imposed goal.

Front yards tell the tale. Drying-out lawns let you know residents in Clovis are cutting back on water use. Most of them. The green lawns really stick out in neighborhoods. The state mandated Clovis reduce its water usage by 36 percent. Residents who didn't meet that requirement were fined up to $25 these past few months.

"We're looking at a little bit over a third of the people in each billing received a penalty," Public Utilities Director Luke Serpa said. He said overall the city reduced water usage by 36.2 percent in July.

Capping sprinklers helped a great deal, but residents like Wendy Carroll did their part. She said, "Really cutting back. We've let our lawn go. I refuse to let it go all the way, but it's suffering along with everybody else in the heat. Take a shower every morning with an Orchard Supply bucket and put it on our vegetables in our garden."

A total of $270,000 in fines have been collected. The money goes into a water fund which the state might eventually tap into.

But the city of Clovis is actually losing money because people are conserving and paying less for water. Serpa said, "Our revenues for these last two months are down $800,000 so we're not making money off of this, and again, the fines were never meant to be a revenue source; they were meant as an incentive to conserve."

The state's water-conservation mandate continues through February, though saving water during the winter may be a more difficult challenge for many.

Keep in mind, Clovis residents can be fined for different reasons: not cutting back by 36 percent, or getting caught watering on the wrong days, or not using a shut-off nozzle.
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