The drip, drip, drip of water in the yard may bring green to the lawn and a clean sparkle to the car, but during the hot summer months, a little conscious conservation will bring peace of mind.
Watering restrictions in Carson City begin Saturday.
To avoid the attention of city water watchers, follow these rules: Odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water lawns on odd days of a month. Even-numbered addresses water on even days. Watering is prohibited on the 31st of any month and daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The city's yearly water-use restrictions are in effect until Oct. 1.
Watering the lawn daily, overwatering or letting water run into the gutters are all violations of the watering restrictions.
This is a particularly stressful time of year for the folks at the Carson City Utility Department. It takes a lot of overtime and seasonal shift work to keep the system operating.
Utility Operations Manager Tom Hoffert said he will hire a half-dozen people to augment his staff and help monitor abuses of the city's water supply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hoffert said he watches people get ready for summer by washing down their houses or wash their sidewalks with a hose instead of using a broom. People allow automatic sprinklers to come on even though wind is blowing the water off the lawns.
"There are other ways to do this stuff more efficiently and save the water," he said. "It also saves their water bills."
Enforcement of water violations usually consists of a verbal warning for a first offense, a written warning on the second offense and then a misdemeanor citation. Fines range from $50 to $500, Hoffert said.
Last year, the utility handed out 3,870 warnings but issued just four citations. About 140 people had their water shut off temporarily when water-watchers discovered it was being wasted.
"We need people to be really conscious of watering restrictions," Hoffert said.
Last year, the city's water system could handle a demand of 20 million gallons a day. The first week of August, Carson residents demanded 24.5 million gallons a day, stressing the water system.
This year, the water system has been upgraded to provide 23.5 million gallons daily.
Hoffert said the utility will be handing out pamphlets all summer to explain to people different ways to conserve water in the desert.
Watering exemptions are available for a variety of reasons, from wanting to water on specific days to new lawns and automatic sprinkler systems. Call 887-2355 ext. 1025 for information.
BREAKOUT: For information on Carson City water restrictions or to request a watering exemption, call 887-2355 ext. 1025.