published on November 2, 2018 - 12:00 PM
Written by Donald A. Promnitz

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to halt fines due to excessive water use and have customers who have been fined based on water meter data since Oct. 1 dismissed from paying the fines.

Councilmembers Steve Brandau and Garry Bredefeld co-sponsored the resolution.

The new watering violation policy was approved in October 2017 and implemented this past summer as part of a pilot water conservation program set up by the University of Chicago.

“Fresno’s current water usage policy has caused great concern for many of our constituents, and they question the fairness of having received violations for excessive water use,” Bredefeld said. “When they call City Hall requesting an explanation for their violations, they are not getting a timely response if they get a response at all.”

Under the previous policy, the threshold for excessive water was more than 300 gallons per hour during days or hours when outdoor irrigation is prohibited.

The policy also increased fines for the second month of water waste to $50, $100 for the third month, and $200 for the fourth incident of water waste for every month until the end of the calendar year.

Under the moratorium, the city will not issue fines for water violations until city council adopts new water usage rules, which will likely be voted on in 2019 after the Department of Public Utilities analyzes the data given to the council from the University of Chicago pilot program.

For customers with questions or complaints about their water usage, call (559) 621-5480.

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