Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency for the entire state of California. Water districts were directed to adopt emergency regulations to encourage their customers to conserve water by prohibiting activities such as hosing down sidewalks and driveways, regulating when lawns and vegetation could be watered, and how people could wash their cars. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at last night’s meeting of the Hi-Desert Water District where the board of directors discussed some proposed conservation measures and suggested fines for breaking those measures…
Directors of the Hi-Desert Water District were not too happy last night about being forced to adopt mandatory water conservation measures, saying that their customers already use less than one-third of the water the average Californian uses.
“Why these draconian measures? Now we gotta have water police going around, ‘Hey, wait a minute, you got water here and there.’… I really hope that we don’t ever get in the position where we got someone driving around looking for leaks.”
And despite public comment urging directors to significantly increase the fines of $25 for a second offense (with a warning for the first offense), $50 for a third, $100 for a fourth, and termination of water service for subsequent violations, Director Bob Stadum didn’t think that was a good idea either.
“And if a few people have water running down their driveway, oh well. That’s how tiered rates work. Going after them I think has more cost than benefit, and the amount of water we save would cost us more in community relations than it would ever gain us.”
Director Sheldon Hough agreed. “I hope we don’t have this Russian or German Gestapo community where ‘Oh my gosh, I saw a gallon of water run down, because they didn’t get out there and turn it down. I think that’s just not this community and I’m very much against that.”
In the end, the directors passed the mandatory restrictions 4-0, with Sarann Graham absent, but deleted regulations that governed how and when lawns and other vegetation could be watered, and the requirement that someone be on a construction site the entire time water was being sprayed on the lot.