Citizens unite: Reporting water wasting is encouraged

CHICO, Calif. - California water companies are encouraging people to notify them when they think water is being wasted by setting up hotlines and websites.  

Among the new state regulations on water conservation is outdoor watering cannot cause runoff, no washing off driveways or sidewalks, no washing a car without a shutoff nozzle on the hose, and no potable water is permitted in an outdoor fountain.  Violators could face a $500 per day fine.

And although it's not a mandate, everyone is encouraged not to run water during the middle of the day when temperatures are at their hottest.

A KRCR viewer sent us a picture of sprinklers running at 5:00 p.m. in the median on Bruce Road and East 20th Street with water running off onto the pavement.   

"Oh, I was angry, because it was a large amount of water happening every evening," said Chico resident Karen Maloney who took photographs of the water wasting.

The culprit was the City of Chico, which was grateful that we showed them the photograph. 

"I'm very glad that it was sent in," said Ruben Martinez, the public works director for the city. "None of our sprinkler systems should be on at that hour."

"This indicates to me that there's something broken with that system," he continued.

Just before 12:30 p.m. on Monday, KRCR noticed the sprinkler system in front of the United Health Care building on Springfield Drive operating. When notified, a representative of the California Water Service Company Chico District said it would contact United Health Care within the hour to alert them on the best ways to conserve water including not running a sprinkler system in the early afternoon.

Maloney, whose home water well is running dry, has no qualms informing officials of water waste, but said she'd be civil about it at first.

"I think I would go and speak with that neighbor first, because a lot of times it's not intentional," she said. " And if it didn't improve  I probably would [notify officials] because it's too valuable right now to let those things go."


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