California is in the middle of a historic drought that is straining water supplies so much that the state has now ordered mandatory restrictions on unnecessary water usage. At the same time, cities are fining people for not using enough water to keep their lawn green.
On the same day the state approved the mandatory water restrictions, Whitney and Korte received a letter from the city threatening a fine for not sufficiently watering their brown lawn.
“Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green,” the letter reads. The couple were given 60 days to restore the lawn or be slapped with a fine ranging from $100 to $500, Reuters reported.
“My friends in Los Angeles got these letters warning they could be fined if they water, and I got a letter warning that I could be fined for not watering,” Whitney told the Associated Press. “I felt like I was in an alternate universe.”
According to the Contra Costa Water Board, lawn care is typically the single biggest water user for the average property and a 500-square-foot lawn can use more than 18,000 gallons of water per year. Among their tips for maintaining a lawn while in the midst of drought conditions: “Be willing to accept a less than lush lawn during the drought.”
Similarly, state water board Chairwoman Marcus told residents this week that “a brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community.” However, Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers told Reuters that Whitney and Korte’s lawn had deteriorated so severely, the city was receiving reports of a possible abandoned property.
And instead of telling the people making those reports that they’re wrong and the property isn’t abandoned, you decided to order the people living there to use more water? Is there an adult in charge, by any chance?