Santa Cruz deploying water cops to combat drought

August 4, 2014

waterTouting strategies like deploying “water cops” and sending abusers to “water school,” the city of Santa Cruz has emerged as California’s leader in the water conservation push during the current drought. [Mercury News]

Santa Cruz has instituted a policy of strict water rationing. A family of four is allotted a monthly ration of 10 units of water, or 7,480 gallons, to cover all uses, including watering the lawn.

Violators who exceed their monthly ration face penalties of $50 per unit, and their monthly water bills often surpass $500.

One man returned from an eight-day vacation in Hawaii to discover that he had a $4,000 water bill. The flapper in his toilet tank was leaking, and he was repeatedly penalized.

Residents who incur penalties on their bills can now attend city water school. The Santa Cruz water department set up a water school this year, modeled after traffic school, in which residents can get fines waived for completing a two-hour water conservation class.

In addition to penalizing violators on their water bills, the city employs two water cops who write tickets for offenses like irrigating during the daytime or hosing down pavement. Filling hot tubs is also banned.

As a result of the city’s conservation efforts, water use in Santa Cruz has decreased 26 percent from its 2012-2013 average. Conversely, statewide water use has increased by 1 percent this year.

Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, said other cities should use Santa Cruz as a model.

“We need the urban areas to start acting like that,” Quinn said. “Santa Cruz is the canary in California’s coal mine.”

Some California cities have already adopted water restrictions similar to Santa Cruz’s but others are counting on a predicted El Nino storm season to hit the state in the next year. Chances, though, of an El Nino arriving are decreasing from 90 percent to 50 percent, according to the most recent reports.


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Russ J

Pay no attention to the gazzillion acres of wine grapes. Keep those almonds growing. Import cheep taxpayer financed berry pickers to profit hugely on our rich dirt. Keep those golf courses green. Slaughter them cattle. God forbid you keep a few blades of grass from dying. No one even talking about wasteful AG usage.


Pelican1

YOU IN THERE! It’s the cops….come out with your hose in the air!!!!!


topper01

“Chances, though, of an El Nino arriving are decreasing from 90 percent to 50 percent, according to the most recent reports.” Tell that to Mount Baldy residents.


Robert1
tomsquawk

they didn’t mention showering with a friend


topper01

Whiskey is for drink. Water is for fighting over! So, as was in the Wild West so as it is in the Liberal West, where fish has priority over human life!


Pelican1
Rambunctious

In the old California drought days the government requested that you save water where ever you can…we in our home did because the cost of using too much water was astronomical. Some wealthy people that could afford to pay the extra costs did not change their behavior in regards to their water usage and they paid penalties. The Governments of those days didn’t send out brown shirted water cops to inspect your home. They didn’t tell your neighbors to rat on you for excessive water use. They asked and some complied and some did not and we’re still here.

And we still have wet years and we still have drought years. The difference I’m seeing now is the size of the stick that today’s Government is willing to utilize. Forget for a moment that they; the state government holds the soul responsibility to insure an adequate water supply is on tap. They are power hungry…power hungry because so many voters want to give them that level of control and they have become addicted to it. Tell the state to keep their water cops out of your neighborhood. Tell them to look at the meters at the Governors mansion. Or better yet! give them a freaking shovel and have them did some reservoirs.


Rambunctious

My apologies…I meant to write dig some reservoirs not did some reservoirs but while I have this reply open I will add that the governments of yesterday didn’t send you to water reeducation school or fine you $4000 for a plumbing failure. Government has become all stick and no understanding…just an out of control rigid power/money hungry entity that has no resemblance to your daddies government what so ever.


tomsquawk

“Filling hot tubs is also banned”. Ok, well, notify the CDC. Use hot tub water to irrigate the garden. Keeps it all fresh.


info

All while Wilder Creek, Meder Creek, Baldwin Creek, Laguna Creek, and Pajaro River are sucked continuously by Ag Community withno restrictions. I hope the money and time to fight 10% of the problem is worth it. Typical Politics.


MarkGB

Finally, the PC police are actually doing something usefull.