In the first week of Carson City's official landscape watering season, public works officials handed out 76 warnings to water code violators.
Most violations seemed to stem from changes in city landscape watering code that some residents still don't know about, according to Carson City Public Works Operations Manager Tom Hoffert.
"Basically, people haven't been informed of the new schedule, or they haven't bothered to read the pamphlet in their water bill," he said.
Carson City instituted summer water schedules in the early 1980s, so growing usage wouldn't overwhelm the city's ability to pull water from the ground and pump it into the system.
There's enough water, officials say, but not enough infrastructure to handle everyone's sprinklers, showers and toilets at the same time.
Last year, city code allowed residents to water every other day. The code was changed this year, barring watering on Mondays altogether so the city's water system could have one day a week to recharge.
The regulations took effect June 1 and will be in effect until Oct. 1.
Of the 76 warnings handed out in the new code's first week, 20 were for watering during the wrong hours. Forty seven were for watering on the wrong day and eight involved water wasting. One of the warnings was a second offense.
Last year, the city issued more than 1,500 warnings but only about a dozen misdemeanor citations for flaunting the water conservation measures.
Last month, Carson City supervisors approved a public works' staff request that residents be given more chances before a citation is issued, saying their role should be more of the helper and less of the enforcer.
The old law called for a citation after just one warning. Now residents will get two warnings before receiving a $50 fine tacked onto their water bill. A fourth offense will draw a $100 fine and a citation won't be issued until the fifth offense.
Along with 76 warnings issued last week, the city received 88 requests for information on a water-timer rebate program.
Many Carson City residents have timers that control when their lawn is watered, rigged to coincide with the city's water schedule. But some of the timers that could be set to turn sprinklers on every other day cannot be set for the new, more complex schedule.
Under the new schedule, homes with odd-numbered addresses can water their landscaping on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Even numbered addresses can water during the same hours on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
There are timers that can be set to follow the new schedule and the city is offering to reimburse up to 20 percent of a new timer's cost, up to $50 for a system with up to eight watering stations and up to $75 for a larger system.
The timers can be purchased at most hardware stores and range in price from $20 to several hundred dollars, Hoffert said, although many cost around $50.
- Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
How to apply
Information on a rebate program on sprinkler timers is on the Carson City Web site, www.carson-city.nv.us. Residents may also call the city's "water watch" personnel at 887-2355 ext. 1025.
Carson City outdoor-watering restrictions
• No watering on Mondays
• Odd-numbered addresses may water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
• Even-numbered addresses may water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays
Restrictions are in effect until Oct. 1.