Couple Could Be Fined $500 if They Water Lawn, $500 if They Don't

CA cities don't like brown lawns, despite state mandate to conserve water

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 18, 2014 11:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – In this week’s “Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t” file: A Southern California couple received a letter from Glendora city officials threatening to fine them $500 if they don’t get their sun-scorched brown lawn green again, reports AP. Which Laura Whitney and Michael Korte would gladly do, except for one thing: They could also be fined $500 if they water their lawn too much; they're currently only watering twice a week. With more than 80% of California in an extreme drought, according to the Los Angeles Times, the state water board voted this week to implement emergency conservation plans and gave the OK to fine water wasters up to $500 a day. As the board’s chairwoman noted, "A brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community."

Someone tell that to the city of Glendora: “Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green,” reads the letter it sent to Whitney and Korte, who were also told they have 60 days to remedy the eyesore. Gov. Jerry Brown pushed an executive order through in April that says homeowners associations can’t penalize people for not watering lawns during conservation periods, but, as AP notes, it doesn’t keep local governments from doing so. In the meantime, residents are stuck trying to interpret the right thing to do. “It's almost crazy because one agency is telling you one thing and another is forcing you to do the opposite,” says an Anaheim resident who also got violation notices for not keeping her yard green.

Michael Korte and his wife, Laura Whitney, pose outside their home in Glendora, Calif., on July 17, 2014.
Michael Korte and his wife, Laura Whitney, pose outside their home in Glendora, Calif., on July 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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