The Associated Press reports that in some drought-stricken parts of California–such as the state capital of Sacramento–local governments are resorting to “water waste patrols,” run by employees and volunteers:
“I don’t want to crack down on them and be their Big Brother,” said Upton, who works for the water conservation unit of Sacramento’s utilities department. “People don’t waste water on purpose. They don’t know they are wasting water.”
“We do have the stick if people don’t get it,” said Kim Loeb, natural resource conservation manager in Visalia, a city of 120,000 people that has hired a part-time worker for night patrols and reduced the number of warnings from two to one before issuing $100 fines.
“There are tons of eyes out there watching everywhere,” said Upton, looking at a computerized map of suspected offenders throughout the city.
Some communities–particularly in Southern California, where there have been greater strides in conservation and recycling–have been spared the surveillance. Others have been able to relax restrictions after recent rains.