City building water waste video goes viral

Redding landscaping owner snaps footage on city property

City building water waste video goes viral

REDDING, Calif. - The city of Redding is caught on camera. It is a water-wasting snafu while a water-saving ordinance is in place.

New water regulations have been put in for property owners, including guidelines dictating when you can water your lawn.

One Redding landscaper was none-too-pleased to see broken sprinklers showering the city building's parking lot.

"See that's a huge loss of water," said Spencer DeMarco, as he described the video he captured on his cell phone.

DeMarco owns and operates Above and Beyond Landscaping and has been in that field for about 15 years. He stores his equipment across the street from the city of Redding corporation yard on Viking Way.

What he saw Friday night around 7:00, and the images he caught on video, made him frustrated. The clip showed broken sprinkler caps and water gushing from the lawn to the parking lot. The video specifically showed the area out in front of the Parks and Recreation facility which controls landscaping procedures for Redding property throughout the city.

"By then, the parking lot was empty," DeMarco said. "Nobody was around when the system was actually running. So there was nobody to go say, 'hey you've got broken sprinklers.'"

"I understand the frustration. We're not going to be perfect. Nor do we expect our customers on the streets to be perfect every day. We're working with them on that, too."

--Redding Public Works director Brian Crane

Instead, DeMarco posted the video clip to his Facebook page with a somewhat sarcastic caption. It read, "I'm really glad I've been cutting back water use on all my customers."

As of Monday night the video had been shared by 1,047 people on social media.

It even reached city officials.

"I have seen the video," said Redding Public Works director Brian Crane.

It was a disheartening moment for Crane as he watched it over the weekend.

"Certainly seeing water - particularly broken sprinkler heads spilling onto the pavement - is a little concerning, obviously, with us just implementing this new ordinance," Crane said.

He places these water issues at a premium, he said, especially with the news ordinance designed to conserve water throughout the city.

"We're going to have broken sprinklers. We're going to have water leaking as a result," Crane said. "We are placing that as a real high priority though when those things happen."

But DeMarco said the city should look at its infrastructure.

"It's an old system that has not been completely [looked] through, in my expert opinion," DeMarco said.

He proceeded to debunk the thought that the broken fixtures on the city facility's lawn could be an act of vandalism.

"There's a difference between vandalism - a kicked over sprinkler - and rotted seals of the sprinklers that are shooting water out of the seals, and maladjustments on sprinklers squirting into the parking lot," DeMarco said.

He walked through that same lawn Monday, the same spot he caught on camera days before. DeMarco found indications that something had changed. He saw brand new nozzles, replaced caps, and other new parts put in.

It is a reactive measure after the city spotted the leaky situation. DeMarco estimated the cost for a new sprinkler cap is $2.00 and said the city lost about a gallon a minute of water, per broken sprinkler, during the time the system was running.

It is an affordable fix that could have saved the city from the current public outrage.

"I understand the frustration," Crane said. "We're not going to be perfect. Nor do we expect our customers on the streets to be perfect every day. We're working with them on that, too."    

Unlike the possible standards in the City of Shasta Lake, Redding officials will not file criminal charges against offenders of the water regulations. Although, customers could face fines as high as $500.

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