Farmington watering violations up this yearIf you received a fine for watering this summer, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re one of 121 residents who have been fined for violating the city of Farmington’s year-round outdoor water use policy.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
If you received a fine for watering this summer, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re one of 121 residents who have been fined for violating the city of Farmington’s year-round outdoor water use policy.
That more than usual, city of Farmington engineer Kevin Schorzman said. He credits the weather for the spike.
“I think the weather has a lot to do with it,” he said. “It has been very hot and quite dry for quite some time, so I’m guessing the weather has more to do with it than anything.”
Farmington’s water restrictions prohibit watering of yards from noon to 6 p.m. daily. In order to conserve the amount of water used daily, homes with addresses ending in odd numbers are allowed to water on odd-numbered days. Homes with addresses ending in even numbers can water on even-numbered days. The ban is in effect year-round, but the summer months are the worst time of the year when it comes to violations.
The city’s community service officer was responsible to write citations when he came across violations, Schorzman said. However, the city’s CSO quit earlier this year so the water board hired someone to continue the monitoring. That individual visits neighborhoods at all hours of the day and night to make sure residents are complying. Other city employees from public works, sanitation, parks and recreation and other departments are also asked to watch for and report potential violations.
“This isn’t about revenue generation. The rules are there for a reason, and when people don’t follow them, it could have the impact of bigger, life-safety type issues,” Schorzman said. “The main reason we have watering restrictions in place is that we have enough water for people to use when they need to use it, and that we would have enough for any fire suppression needs that we would have.”
The fine for a first-time citation is $25. That jumps to $50 for a second violation in the same year. A fine of $100 is assessed for the third and any subsequent violations within the same year. Most of the time, residents get just one fine. Of those who have been cited this summer, only a few were for two or more violations. In some instances, people do not even realize they are violating the city’s policy. For instance, when there are power outages, residents with underground sprinkler systems have to be sure to reset their systems because often, that is the reason those homes are fined.
“I would say the vast majority are one-and-done tickets. Either they didn’t set up their system right or power outages reset their sprinklers. What (the water use policy) does is really reinforces that after the first (fine) they do need to pay attention because it is important,” Schorzman said.