Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

June 2012
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Water wasters forced to attend Water School

BY MARTHA MENDOZA Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Some overindulged their zucchini patch. Others didn't bother with that dripping kitchen sink. But now every Monday night in this drought-stricken beach town, dozens of residents who violated their strict rations take a seat at Water School, hoping to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in distressing penalties waived.

Nik Martinelli, a Santa Cruz water-conservation specialist who is up before dawn patrolling for overwatered lawns, launched a recent lesson.

"We all know why you're here. You all went over your allotment and got a big penalty," he said.

Margaret Hughes nodded grimly.

Her $210 water bill came with a $775 fine last month. She drove from her home four hours north of town to face the scolding, even though she had no idea the toilet in a vacant house she inherited had been leaking.

Two hours later, everyone was ready to ace their Water School quiz, identifying the community's sparse water sources, listing ways to conserve water, describing how to use their water meters to check for leaks.

"They're turning this into something positive," said Hughes, adding that she might take advantage of a $150 rip-out-your-lawn rebate she learned about.

California is in the third year of the state's worst drought in recent history. Farmland is going fallow. Lakes are transforming into mud. Golf courses, cemeteries and parks are browning.

Earlier in the year when winter storms didn't blow in and the forecast was grim, most communities took the "ask nicely," approach, suggesting residents cut water use by 20 percent.

But Santa Cruz, a coastal town about 60 miles south of San Francisco, couldn't afford to wait.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha ff112b1f830e43789dbad7875f085e35
Top Classifieds
  • Hummel Figurines, Bells & Platesi ... Details
  • PILLOW TOPmattress sets NEW in plasti ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't b ... Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Man found dead was to be witness in case
  2. EU, Turkey seek better relations at summit
  3. Faith keeps Marshall teen on track
  1. Out of town couple finds hospitality in Paducah
  2. High risk of texting on the road
  3. Syrian family settling in Lexington
  1. Man found dead was to be witness in case
  2. EU, Turkey seek better relations at summit
  3. Elementary school nixes reading of book about transgender kid

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...