Thinking about setting out a sprinkler on that parched front lawn on a Tuesday afternoon? Does your debris-encrusted driveway need a good hosing down? If you’re a resident of Los Angeles, don't even try it. “Water cops,” water conservation officers from the LA Department of Water and Power, are out in full-force. What ya gonna do when they come for you?

In the beginning June, Los Angeles — now in its fourth consecutive drought year — went into mandatory water conservation mode, making a slew of watery household activities like using a lawn sprinkler on days other than Monday and Thursday or partaking in any kind of landscape watering between 9 am and 4 pm, illegal.

In a recent article, The Los Angeles Times tagged along with Kevin Cato, a Prius-driving conservation officer from the DPW. It’s apparent that as part of the 12-member H2O fuzz, he takes his job very seriously. Since June, over 700 citations for illegal water use have been issued. Most of have been warnings although some fines, starting at $100, have been doled out. And as the LA Times points out, there’s even a citizens-on-patrol contingent on the lookout for lawbreakers:

With water conservation officers patrolling only during regular business hours, some self-appointed water vigilantes have stepped in. They watch for mysterious puddles, broken sprinkler heads and after-hours hand-watering across neighborhoods and business strips. Then they send complaints -- more than 4,200 so far -- via phone, e-mail and most recently on Twitter.
Fearing an unannounced visit from Cato or one of his 11 compadres, many once hose-happy LA residents have taken to waterless lawn and garden alternatives like artificial grass or drought-resistant plant beds. Some folks, especially those in the scorching San Fernando Valley, have just let the greenery on their property go wild.

LA residents, have you been caught wet-handed by the water cops this summer? And do you think the new water conservation ordinance is too severe or just right? How has your lawn and/or garden fared?

Via [LA Times]

Photo: BoyWonderKyle

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Caught wet-handed
LA's "water cops" prowl the H2O-strapped city on the lookout for residents defying recently amped-up water restriction laws.