In response to one of the worst droughts in California in decades, the city of Glendale has reactivated an anonymous tip line for reporting homeowners and businesses that are wasting water.
A local conservation ordinance outlines fines as high as $1,000 for violations such as watering lawns between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., but the goal of the tip line is for utility workers to educate those who are reported rather than citing them, said Tom Lorenz, a city spokesman.
"The caller can be anonymous," he said. "We'll make a note and go contact the owner and basically coach them and let them know what our policy is."
No one has been fined for exceeding water usage as a result of the tip line in the past because they typically comply after being contacted by the Glendale Water Department, Lorenz said.
Glendale is always in the voluntary first phase of the water ordinance, but the City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to vote on whether to move to the second phase, which would enact mandatory restrictions such as limiting watering lawns to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
"Sixty percent of water [in Glendale] is for people using it for outdoor purposes, i.e. landscaping and watering lawns," Lorenz said.
The upcoming council decision follows a July 15 vote by the State Water Resources Control Board to ensure all water agencies put an effort toward getting their customers to increase conserving water.
Glendale's water-waster tip line was first put into use in 2008, but only during a drought that year. It hasn't been used again until now.
The number for the line is (818) 550-4426 and an online form is available on the city's website, glendaleca.gov.
Peter Fuad, president of the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Assn., said he hasn't personally used the tip line, but it could be an effective method to spread the idea of conservation in his neighborhood.
"Having an anonymous tip line seems an effective way for residents who see wasteful water usage, but who are uncomfortable confronting the person wasting the water, to report what they see," he said. "I trust any person whose water usage has been reported will be fairly treated by the GWP and given an opportunity to explain their usage."