As drought awareness in Sacramento grows, so do calls to the City about water waste

The City of Sacramento is seeing an increase in calls reporting water waste, such as watering on the wrong day or letting water run off into the sidewalk or street.

According the City’s Department of Utilities, calls about water waste last month increased by 235 percent when compared to August 2020. The City from May to August 2021 received approximately 1,200 calls regarding water waste.

“As more people become aware of the drought, they tend to become more aware of watering guidelines and restrictions,” said Carlos Eliason, spokesperson for the City’s Department of Utilities. “Being conscious of those restrictions also means people tend to keep an eye out for when water waste happens around them.”

Using water incorrectly is prohibited in the City of Sacramento. To help contend with the drought, the City Council on Aug. 24 approved a “water alert” that doubled the fines for wasting water. (Fines now range from $50 to $1,000.)

The water alert also restricts car-washing to a person’s watering day from the City’s watering schedule, and people must use a shut-off nozzle.

While penalties for wasting water have increased, the City is more focused on educating the public on water conservation than fining people, said Eliason.

“Because we would rather have people aware of the waste and fix it, we actually give two written notices before issuing fines,” Eliason said.

The City currently is asking residents to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent, and people can save water by using shorter sprinkler cycles, fixing leaks or converting lawns to drought-tolerant landscapes.

If they need to, residents can report water waste by calling City customer service at 916-808-5011 or by visiting this website.

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