Fresno water police issue thousands of warning tickets

Despite all the rain this winter many Fresno homeowners believe their lawns and plants need additional water more than one day a week. But that's against the City of Fresno's water rules and the conservation monitoring team is keeping an eye on water wasters and writing citations. After only two months homeowners have paid out more than 50-thousand dollars in fines.

Lee Rodriguez is a veteran water monitor for the City of Fresno. He spends six hours a day, five days a week looking for water wasters. After Fox 26 News hopped aboard it took only minutes before he found a small apartment complex in northwest Fresno where the lawn was being watered. "I'm gonna try and turn them off. There's a lot of water waste." Rodriguez turned off the valve and then took a picture of the water in the gutter. He filled out a citation that will be sent by mail to the apartment complex.

The citation is only a warning. In the first two months of the year the conservation team has issued more than 9-thousand citations. 4,860 in January and 4,566 in February. A second citation brings a $45 fine. The team issued 572 fines in January and 550 in February.

Back on patrol Rodriguez found another homeowner in northwest Fresno whose sprinklers had just turned off. She blamed the watering error on her gardener. "So you might want to tell your timer is not set correctly. I don't even know where the timer is. The white one gives you the schedule." The homeowner also gets a warning citation.

There are numerous reasons why people don't follow the watering schedule. Rodriguez has heard most of them. "A lot of them are thinking hey there's plenty of water now so they can still water whenever they want."

The winter outdoor watering schedule runs through April. For odd numbered addresses it's Saturday and even addresses on Sunday.