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Our View: Cooperation needed during water crisis

Posted: August 3, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 3, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Our community has a big problem on its hands.

The drought that we are in is so severe that local water officials must come up with a strategy to force residents and businesses to cut down on their water use.

If their strategy doesn’t work and the drought continues for another year, things will get very painful, officials say.

They are proposing water reduction regulations that include a timetable for lawn watering — odd-numbered addresses get to water on certain days, and even-numbered addresses water on other days.

Each property, however, would only be able to water three days a week in the hot months and two days a week in the cooler months.

Under regulations handed down by the state to local water agencies, which have been called on to assume the role of enforcers, property owners would be fined if they don’t comply — up to $500 a day for hard-core scofflaws.

The enforcement challenges are numerous.

Hiring water cops to patrol the streets seems unlikely — and expensive. Enforcement may instead rely in pitting neighbor against neighbor.

That’s unacceptable. Our society is divisive enough without having neighbor spying on neighbor, ratting out some secret midnight Rain Bird action.

We encourage our valley’s water districts to come up with a less emotional and divisive way of enforcing water regulations, such as charging users more for going over a predetermined level of water usage set according to the type of property and number of occupants.

Those acceptable levels could appear on water-users’ bills.

But whatever the final set of regulations and enforcement methods turn out to be, we strongly urge everybody in the community to cooperate.

We are truly in this together.

We all need to reduce our water consumption by a lot. Homeowners need to make sure their sprinklers are working properly and their lawns are being watered as efficiently as possible.

We believe that homeowner associations need to become strong partners with the water districts in enforcing these water regulations — and if that means putting up with some brown patches in lawns, then so be it.

In addition, all governmental entities must be a model for efficient usage of water on public property.

The water districts must lead the way, but they need help and cooperation from everybody. This is a crisis, and we all need to operate in a crisis mode.

If we don’t, and the drought continues into next year, water officials assure us there will be draconian measures taken.



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