Sometimes you truly are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Such is the situation with Laura Whitney Korte and her husband Michael Korte, who live in Glendora, California.
California is currently in the midst of a crippling drought. In the vast majority of the state, the drought is classified as “extreme” or “exceptional.” In response to the situation, the state has imposed mandatory water use restrictions. Those restrictions include prohibitions on hosing down sidewalks, and “wasteful” lawn watering where some of the water runs off of the grass and onto a hard surface such as a street or driveway.
The Kortes have been trying to do their part to help, by taking shorter showers, saving their laundry until they could do a larger load, and cutting back on watering their lawn.
Last Tuesday, the same day the state instituted the water use restrictions, Laura and Michael received a letter from Glendora Police’s code enforcement division, informing them that they had 60 days to turn their lawn from brown to green, or face a fine between $100 and $500.
The state’s water restrictions also carry fines for wasteful watering, so if they do water their lawn more, and the state considers it “wasteful,” they could face a fine of $500 a day.
The letter the Kortes received says that dead or dry lawns are a potential public nuisance. It instructs homeowners to “keep all vegetation watered, mowed, trimmed and maintained.”
Glendora mayor Judy Nelson says the incident was a misunderstanding. She tells NBC News Los Angeles that “Our water conservation officers are there to help them figure out how to still have a beautiful yard without using up too much water.”
A new letter sent to Glendora residents explains how to keep their lawns looking green while at the same time conserving water. The letter makes no mention of fines for non-compliance.
Here’s a report on the Kortes’ predicament, from Los Angeles station KTLA: