Los Angeles has increased its water-wasting patrol officers, affectionately known as “water cops,” now that severe drought is hobbling 99.8% of California.
Up until Monday, only one water-wasting inspector was employed by the DWP to monitor excessive use of water by the city’s four million people. The Los Angeles Times reported that there are now four people assigned to the newly created job detail.
So far no fines have been issued, but the DWP sent 863 warnings letters from January through June. If the drought continues to persist through the fall, the likelihood is great that levying fines will become “modus operandi” for the “water cops.”
Right now, Los Angeles is in what’s called Phase 2 of a mandatory water-conservation ordinance, reports the Times. This allows for watering the lawn no more than three times per week and puts restrictions on washing your car in the street unless using an automatic water cut off nozzle on your water hose.
If we remain dry through December, Phase 3 would kick in, cutting lawn watering to once a week and allowing for only commercial washing of cars. Failure to co-operate with the restrictions could result in $300 for residential customer violations and $600 for commercial customers.
Rick Silva, who had been the DWP’s lone inspector, said that they will no longer be nice guys when it comes to handing out fines. “We won’t be so friendly and just educational anymore,” he quipped.
The city of Santa Cruz, known for its green activism, has already established a hefty fine system for water wasters. Yet, as Breitbart News has reported, violators can choose instead to go to “water school” to avoid paying the fine.
Max Gomberg, a scientist for the State Water Resources Control Board, believes that warnings are usually sufficient in getting water abusers to mend their ways. “Usually, just getting a notice is going to take care of whatever the issue is,” Gomberg said. “The citations are reserved for either people who are oblivious or simply refuse to help out.”
Ironically, in July a DWP water pipe ruptured near UCLA’s campus, wasting almost twenty million gallons of water and damaging University property, including newly renovated Pauley Pavillion. “We did get phone calls and emails,” Silva said. “They wanted to know if the DWP would get fined.”