News / USA

Water Cop Enforces Laws As California Drought Persists

'Water Cop' Enforces Laws as California Drought Persistsi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 09, 2014 11:31 PM
California is in the middle of a serious drought that is forcing the state to reduce its water supply to farmers. In big cities like Los Angeles, the impact is less severe but residents must still follow strict conservation laws to limit water waste. VOA correspondent Mike O'Sullivan and video-journalist Deyane Moses took an early morning ride with a Los Angeles water cop looking for scofflaws.
Mike O'Sullivan

California is going through a serious drought, and the state has drastically reduced supplies of water to its farmers.   In big cities like Los Angeles, the impact is less severe but the city has strict conservation laws that limit water waste and enforces those laws by sending out officers into the streets to monitor compliance.  

Rick Silva of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power cruises the neighborhoods of Los Angeles in search of tell-tale signs of illegal watering.

“Residential fines start at $100, and commercial fines start at $200," said Silva.

Most who violate the city laws just get a warning, and advice on a strategy to reduce their water use.

Houses with even street numbers can water Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, those with odd numbers: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  No one can use irrigation systems between 9 am and 4 pm, or on Saturday.

Silva drives through the winding residential streets of the Hollywood Hills and sometimes pulls to the side of the road when he spots lawn sprinklers on, or water running down the street.

“We've been looking for run-off from lawns, people that are watering on the wrong days, and more just to get them on board that a lot of water is being used towards irrigation, and that there's also a lot of potential savings there," he said.

Farmers in California's Central Valley have seen dramatic reductions in their water allocations, which is threatening agriculture, one of the state's major industries.  In Los Angeles, up to half the water is used for watering yards, and local officials say that is one area where the city can make reductions.  

Silva says homeowners are responsive, once they learn the law.

“And we're hitting the numbers that we want to hit, so we're really emphasizing educating people to conserve more," he said.

The city also is urging homeowners to tear out their lawns and plant drought resistance plants.  

“We will pay you to take out your grass.  We'll pay you three dollars a square foot [0.09 square meter]," said Silva.

Incentives have enticed some homeowners to put in plant varieties that are native to the temperate climate in Los Angeles, such as Cleveland Sage, California Redbud, California Poppy or Deer Grass.  Rick Silva notes that the city has installed a model landscape in a public park as an example of what can be done with native plants.

“You see, some of them are flowering now.  It's pretty nice," he said.

Homeowners who ignore the city's water restrictions will get an informational letter, or a formal warning, and finally a fine, if they don't cooperate.

Los Angeles reservoirs still have enough water, but reservoirs in other parts of the state are at levels far below normal.  And the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack, the source of much of the city's water, was 20 percent below normal when measured in May.

The drought is in its third year, and California officials will soon consider tough new penalties for those who waste water anywhere in the state.  Under the draft regulations, water-wasting homeowners could be fined up to $500 a day.  

Deyane Moses contributed to this report.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Juan Saravia from: East los angeles
July 24, 2014 10:02 PM
On areas from Downey road to Atlantic Blvd you will see people wasting water every single day. We need water enforcers


by: Terri from: Compton
July 11, 2014 12:02 PM
It's good to know that DWP has water enforcers in the communities,although, City of Compton is in need of water enforcers. You can drive down the streets of Compton on any given day and see water flowing down the streets. HOA's in Compton abuse water everyday.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid