Sacramento received 3,100 water waste complaints in the month of April -- the most out of nearly 400 agencies in the state.
Even when taking into account population, Sacramento still ranks high for water complaints in April, according to the Department of Water Resources.
“I think the Sacramento community is more aware of what’s happening. We’ve done a great job of educating the public,” says Rhea Serran, a spokeswoman with the Utilities Department.
She says that focus on education has resulted in a more vigilant public.
“They have been very helpful to let us know what’s happening in their communities and, but we also want to embrace that it’s not just about them letting us know that their neighbor is watering, but they’re educating themselves on ways that they can save water in and out of their home,” she says.
|Agency||Complaints Received||Agency||Complaints Per 1,000 People|
|City of Sacramento||3,100||City of Rio Vista||7.93|
|Los Angeles Department Of Water And Power||1,875||City of Sacramento||6.46|
|City of Long Beach||1,766||City of Roseville||5.77|
|City of Fresno||1,298||Santa Fe Irrigation District||5.49|
|City of Modesto||941||City of Merced||5.12|
|City of San Diego||820||City of Ripon||4.62|
|City of Roseville||710||City of Folsom||4.62|
|City of Pasadena||437||City of Modesto||4.26|
|City of Merced||426||City of Long Beach||3.73|
|San Jose Water Company||385||Pinedale County Water District||3.65|
|City of Huntington Beach||340||Lodi City of Public Works Department||3.25|
|City of Glendale||315||City of West Sacramento||3.01|
|Sacramento County Water Agency||298||City of Chino Hills||2.97|
|City of Folsom||293||City of Pasadena||2.64|
|City of Chino Hills||226||City of Newman Water Department||2.53|
|Lodi City of Public Works Department||207||Laguna Beach County Water District||2.51|
|San Francisco Public Utilities Commision||194||City of San Luis Obispo||2.51|
|City of Clovis||191||City of Fresno||2.48|
|Sacramento Suburban Water District||183||City of La Palma||2.01|
|Coachella Valley Water District||161||Olivehurst Public Utility District||1.99|
|California-American Water Company Sacramento||161||Orange Vale Water Company||1.89|
|Desert Water AGency||160||Sacramento County Water Agency||1.82|
|City of Burbank||159||Triunfo Sanitation District / Oak Park Water Service||1.80|
|City of West Sacramento||153||City of Clovis||1.76|
|City of San Bernardino||148||Winton Water & Sanitary District||1.76|
Residents can report water waste, both commercial and residential, through the city’s 311 number or by sending an e-mail. There’s also a 311 app that allows users to take a picture and notify the city’s conservation specialist on where waste is occurring. The app provides a timestamp. These reports call attention to water runoff or leaks, and residents who are watering at the wrong time.
Serran says the city put in place its water waste reporting system even before Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared the drought last year. In 2013, the department received 1,800 hundred water calls. By 2014, complaints spiked to 19,000.*
“I think that’s great thing, I think it’s that we’re all in this together,” Serran says.
The city has 60 staffers trained to go on water patrols and look for misuse in the community. Serran says the city is looking into adding night patrols as well.
Once a report comes in, Serran says the city’s water conservation team is notified. A conservation specialist is then sent out to check on the report, speak to the business or homeowner and try to resolve the issue. It may take a day or two for the specialist to actually go to the site and he or she must witness the violation.
There’s no penalty for the first violation, but subsequent violations can result in fines between $50 to $1,000 in fines ($1,000 would be for a fourth violation). Those found to be in violation can attend water conservation classes, or “water school,” in order to waive the fine.
Water agencies across the state are required to turn in their enforcement statistics each month. Data include complaints, warnings and penalties handed down. The April numbers were the first to be collected.
A spokesman with the Department of Water Resources say the agency is waiting to collect more data to determine why some cities have higher numbers compared to others.
Sacramento ranks seventh in the state for the highest number of penalties assessed per capita. Sacramento region agencies were also at the top of the list for the most complaints received and penalties handed down.
Yuba City had the most penalties.
The city of Sacramento met its 20 percent conservation goal last year and expect to reach this year’s 28 percent goal. The state is expected to release a new set of numbers for water complaints, warnings and penalties in July.
|Agency||Penalties Assessed||Agency||Penalties Assessed Per 1,000|
|City of Fresno||347||Yuba City||0.87|
|City of Sacramento||191||City of Fresno||0.67|
|Yuba City||57||City of Tulare||0.66|
|City of San Diego||48||City of Madera||0.49|
|City of Tulare||41||Pinedale County Water District||0.47|
|City of Madera||31||City of Sacramento||0.40|
|City of Roseville||18||City of Lemoore||0.40|
|City of Lemoore||10||City of Kingsburg||0.26|
|City of Watsonville||10||Lake Arrowhead Community Services||0.18|
|Los Angeles Department of Water and Power||8||Cambria Community Services District||0.17|
*The number 19,000 refers to complaints received through the 311 app, call center and water patrols.