First the good news: Clovis exceeded the state’s guideline for reducing water consumption in July by cutting back 36.3%.
The bad news will come in the mail: More customers will be fined, an amount that reached $144,060.
Clovis residents and business owners must meet a 36% cut in water consumption as required by the state Water Resources Control Board versus the same month in 2013. In June, the city reported a reduction of 33% and fines amounted to $125,197.
Even with the deterrent of fines, “it’s going to be a struggle every month,” said Lisa Koehn, assistant public utilities director for Clovis.
“I’m very happy we made it for July, but we need to keep it up in August,” she said.
And there is a built-in challenge: The average August use in 2013 was lower than that for July 2013, she said.
It’s going to be a struggle every month.
Lisa Koehn, assistant public utilities director for Clovis
First-time fines for residential users were $25. Other residential users were fined $12.50 under a complicated, sliding-scale formula, in which they don’t meet the 36% cut but use less than the average household. Average household use changes each month. Second-offense fines for residential users in Clovis are $50 per customer.
Clovis bills every two months and has about 27,000 customers. With the 6,460 customers fined in July, the city has fined more than 40% of its customers during its first full billing cycles.
Of those fined, 6,173 — more than 95% — were residential customers.
In Fresno, water consumption dropped 31% in July, city spokesman Mark Standriff said. The city is mandated by the state to cut consumption by 28%, he said.
Fresno officials reported a 30% water consumption reduction in June.
Standriff said the city will report the number of violations and fines for July next week. In June, the city fined customers watering on the wrong days and issued 1,761 citations. At $45 apiece, the fines amounted to $79,245, up from 1,204 citations and $54,180 in fines issued in May, he said.