Long gone are the days of latent suburban battles over who has the nicest lawn. Now folks in California are facing fines for letting their lawn go brown to conserve water as the state endures the worst drought in recorded history. The Weather Network reports that Laura Whitney and Michael Korte of Glendora, California are facing a fine of up to $500 after they stopped watering their lawn to save water. The fine notice from the City of Glendora came on the same day as mandatory water restrictions came into place and told the couple they have 60 days to get their lawn back into shape or else they would have to pay the fine.
“Despite water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green,” read the letter sent to the couple, as quoted by Reuters. “I don’t think it’s right for us to start pouring water into our lawn in the middle of July during a drought,” Whitney told Reuters. “We’re kind of in a quandary about what to do.” The statewide emergency drought restrictions on outdoor water use that recently came into effect require cities to demand cutbacks in water use, letting them fine residents up to $500 for overwatering their lawns.
Glendora City Manager, Chris Jeffers told Reuters that the city did encourage conservation, but the condition of the couple’s lawn was so bad the home was reported as possibly abandoned. “We were responding to a complaint that we received of a possible abandoned property,” Jeffers said. “Crews visited and determined it was not abandoned, but not kept. The landscape was dead and there were large areas of just dirt.” Instead of immediately giving them a ticket, the city officials decided to do them a favor and send the letter allowing them time to get their lawn back in shape.