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.

    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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.