Searching for Water Wasters: How Sacramento Enforces Watering Restrictions

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SACRAMENTO-

Once a week, the Sacramento's water conservation team goes out early in the morning to make sure people are following those watering rules.

They call it "dawn patrol" and Friday, FOX40 tagged along.

During dawn patrol, water conservation representatives like Paul Brown are out the door well before the sun comes up.

They travel through Sacramento neighborhoods on a mission: to find people and businesses using their sprinklers at the wrong time.

Friday Brown and FOX40 went to Natomas, looking for water in gutters and water running off properties.

Thirty minutes in it was all dry.

But that didn't last long, Brown ended up issuing six citations.

During the spring and summer months, addresses ending in odd numbers can water Tuesday and Saturday.

Evens are Wednesday and Sunday.

No one can water on Friday, but Brown found several.

"I see the water runoff in the sidewalk, some water in the gutter, water up on the walkway. So evidence that they watered today," Brown said.

Everyone gets a warning on their first offense, the second is a $50 fine, the fourth is $1,000.

While Brown is on patrol he says he's focused on spreading awareness, not citations.

"Talking to people, letting them know what's going on. I don't like dishing out fines," Brown said.

On this day, he finds six first time water wasters, which he says is pretty low.

'I've had as low as seven and as high as 21," said Brown.

Friday all of the citations were just warnings, and hopefully a little education in water conservation.

Throughout the spring and summer months, dawn patrol happens once a week either on a Thursday or a Friday."

Watering is restricted to before 10am and after 7pm.

Dawn Patrol started when the city entered a stage two drought last year.

According to the city, in 2014 there were more than 19,000 water use complaints.

5,770 first time violation notices were issued.

There was only one fourth time notice.

So far in 2015 there have been just over 1,700 complaints and 710 first time notices issued.