Violations of Carson City water code are down this year, even though some officials expected a spike due to a new, unfamiliar schedule governing who can water lawns on specific days.
Through Sunday, the city had logged more than 2,150 violations since water restrictions began June 1. At the same time last year, there were about 2,700 violations.
Carson City public works official Ron Johns credited the drop to a robust education effort and more water watchers than before visiting Carson City homes to explain the restrictions.
"Once we got the public educated, it was really helpful," Johns said.
Along with a drop in total violations, however, there has been a dramatic increase in fines assessed to local residents. So far this year, the city has handed out 39 fines, compared with five for all of last year.
City officials approved a law in May to give residents more warnings before they may be fined, but it also made it easier for code enforcers to levy fines once the warnings were used up.
The old law called for a misdemeanor citation and a fine after just one warning, but the citations would have to go through municipal court and city officials were less inclined to hand out misdemeanors to people for watering their lawns.
Under the new code, residents get two warnings, at least one of which must be written, before a $50 fine gets tacked onto the water bill.
A fourth offense results in a $100 fine and a citation may be issued on the fifth offense.
The number of fines may continue to increase. In the last three weeks, the city has issued 17 of this summer's 39 fines.
"That's usually what we see this month of the year because they've had all summer to accumulate them (warnings)," Johns said.
Under the new watering schedule, there is no outdoor watering on Mondays, other than fields that use treated effluent rather than well water. The "day off" is supposed to replenish storage tanks that are depleted throughout the week. It's obvious from the level in the tanks, Johns said, it's working.
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at email@example.com or 881-1217.
Carson City outdoor-watering restrictions
• No watering on Mondays
• Odd-numbered addresses may water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
• Even-numbered addresses may water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Restrictions are in effect from June 1 to Oct. 1. For information call Development Services Public Works Division at 887-2355, ext. 1025.
Water conservation tips
• Do not overwater your lawn. Consult a professional with problems with sprinkler systems.
• Do not water if it is windy.
• Adjust sprinklers to avoid over spray onto concrete or asphalt.
• Comply with the schedule.
• Water during the coolest part of the day or night.
• Prevent water runoff.
• Repair leaks promptly, even if they seem small.
• Wash full loads of clothes and dishes.