advertisement

Water Cops

Major droughts have, historically, affected regions across the United States. Most recently, drought-stricken areas such as Los Angeles and San Antonio have implemented new procedures to help fight water shortages. From restricted water usage laws to higher water prices, local governments have experimented with options to encourage citizens to monitor their consumption. More drastic measures, it seems, are needed, so, Los Angeles and San Antonio have called on the “water cops” to police their neighborhoods.

Los Angeles is now riding out its third straight year of drought. Beginning with smaller restrictions like mandating that not offer water to guests automatically and limiting sprinkler use to only two days a week, the local government attempted to reduce water consumption. But, it seems that people were not exactly obedient of these laws so, now, the city has hired a team of 15 wandering water cops, formally known as the Water Conservation Team.

The Los Angeles water cops receive tips from an anonymous hotline and patrol neighborhoods trying to catch water code violators. First offenders are given a warning and repeat offenders face a $100 fine.

Repeat offenders are not easy to find, however. Since June, the Water Conservation Team has more than 4,600 incidents, resulting in 834 warnings. Only 23 repeat offenders have been fined. The goal, said the Department of Water and Power, is to reduce water usage, not to raise money.

Similarly, San Antonio¬† has instated its own team of water cops. Their “Water Wasters” hotline receives more than 200 calls per day notifying them of water violations. In fact, over 1,800 water-violation citations have been handed out since April. Fines, in San Antonio, range from $50 to $100. It seems to be working because aquifer levels there are increasing despite record temperatures and a two-year drought.

Los Angeles has also seen results. In June, numbers indicated that city water usage dropped 12.7% from June 2008. These levels are the lowest overall consumption numbers in 32 years! Although the paranoia of being watched by patrolling water cops and prying eyes of neighbors is bothersome, the initiative seems objectively effective.

Even after the drought ends in Los Angeles, its not likely that all water restrictions will end, too. The city’s goal is to reduce water consumption by %15 and it must meet a state-mandated water reduction target of 20% by 2020.


advertisement


advertisement
Recent Comments
    Archives

    advertisement

    advertisement