City of Fresno keeping close eye on water meters

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New drought measures are now in place to keep Fresno homeowners from wasting water.

A reminder that every water meter in the city is being closely monitored just went out in the mail. Fliers were sent to water customers this week. They outline water schedules -- important dates since the city says each day people ignore restrictions, they're wasting 20 million gallons of water.

In the cool of the late night or early morning, the city of Fresno says is the perfect time for outdoor watering -- given it's the proper day. In Fresno, outdoor watering for anyone is off limits on Monday any time of day.

The sprinklers at a Northwest Fresno home came on Monday afternoon. The homeowner says it's a glitch that he'll fix soon.

Sandra Tilmon sees water wasters as a big deal. She said, "I just think that they don't care. They don't think it's serious, but it is a serious problem."

It's a problem the city says is wasting far too much water -- when the length of this drought is unknown.

"Those individuals that are irrigating on the wrong days are using about 20 million gallons of water a day that we'd love to save right now because we might need it later," Director of Public Utilities Thomas Esqueda said.

Esqueda says roughly 15,000 city water users -- about 10 percent -- water on days they're not supposed to, and about 3,000 users still water every day.

"There's a generation of people who are just used to three days in the summer. So it's going to take some time to get everybody adjusted to two days a week during the summer," he said.

Esqueda's department is monitoring usage with city water meters that feed your usage information to City Hall. They're not quite yet using this technique to go after water wasters, but that's an option if people continue to avoid conservation.

"It's like they're watching every move I make. But I follow the order because I don't want to get a fine on my bill. Plus, I want to help conserve our water," said Tilmon.

Some homeowners said the schedule is a bit confusing. For odd numbered addresses, you can water on Tuesday and Saturday. Even addresses can water on Wednesday and Sunday. The other three days are off limits to everyone.

The city also wants to remind residents that someone can visit their homes to check for leaks inside and outside for free.

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