Clovis considering eliminating water fine

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Clovis City Council will consider eliminating a fine for residents who don't reduce their water usage by 36-percent.

Clovis reached 36-percent in its first billing cycle of the summer. It was followed by 34-and-32-percent reductions. Monday, council members may put an end to the fines many people have found on their utility bills.

Clovis residents have their own ways of dealing with the drought and avoiding fines from the city. Many lawns have dried up. Some people have installed drought-tolerant landscapes. Others have ripped out the old lawn and laid out artificial turf. It wasn't long ago a golden brown lawn was a tell-tale sign of foreclosure. Now it's a way of life.

"More than normal now because that's how we used to know when a property was in distress and the homeowner was in trouble by the landscaping, by the condition of the landscaping in the front yard and now you can't tell.," said Richard Garcia, realtor.

This summer Clovis residents faced $25 fines if they did not meet the state mandate of a 36-percent reduction in water use, but Public Utilities Director Luke Serpa believes the Clovis City Council will vote to end the penalty. "They were intended to get people's attention and have them change their behavior and save water. I think they've done that but they've run their course. They served their purpose and we're recommending suspending them going forward."

Residents were fined over half-a-million-dollars for not cutting back this summer. As they head into the winter months it becomes much more difficult for people to reduce their water use.

"That's one of the things about the state mandate we didn't like is they based the 36-percent mandate on our consumption in June, July, August and September which is obviously our highest. But they carried that 36-percent all the way through February," said Serpa.

If the Clovis City Council agrees to suspend the water fines it wouldn't take effect until the December billing period.
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