In order to save water in a severe drought, Laura Whitney-Korte reduced watering her lawn to two times a week, turns off the shower to suds up and never leaves the faucet running while brushing her teeth.
And what has she received for her water-saving efforts? A threatening letter from the city of Glendora’s code enforcement team saying that her brown lawn could be a “potential public nuisance problem” that may cost her $100-$500 in fines and possible criminal action.
“Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green,” read the letter, which said maintaining this appearance is part of keeping Glendora beautiful and keeping up city’s “Pride of the Foothills” image.
The letter, with the city seal and the police department seal, contained three pictures: a dead lawn with a red line through it, a weedy lawn also crossed out and a lush, green lawn with a sprinkler running in the daytime, apparently the positive example.
“It is telling me I’d better get my lawn green and I have 60 days to do it,” said Laura Whitney-Korte.
Whitney-Korte and her husband, Michael, are caught in a squeeze. On one hand, they said they want to obey Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to reduce water consumption 20 percent because California is in the third year of record low rainfall with some communities running out of water.
In fact, the governor’s call was strengthened Tuesday — the same day the couple received the letter — when the State Water Resources Control Board gave local agencies the power to hand out $500 fines for overwatering lawns.
Now, the couple says they are trying to avoid paying fines to City Hall for having an unkept front and side lawn, which they say ironically will require watering every day to remedy.
“It seems like you’ll be fined if you overwater but we will be fined no matter what,” said Laura, during an interview inside the couple’s 1946, post-war bungalow in south Glendora. [story continues here]