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Stella Garcia walks to work every morning in Imperial Beach, and for the third Thursday in a row, a home’s lawn sprinklers have kept her off the sidewalk. “I have to walk in the middle of the street to stay out of the water. There are two or three geysers shooting up water. The water flows almost to my house two blocks away, and I mean” — she holds her hands apart about two feet — “it’s a big flow."

San Diego has declared a Level 2 Drought Alert. The California-American Water Company, which administers water supplies to Imperial Beach, has an 11-person complaint-response team, but the company has issued no water-use restrictions.

Kendra, who answered the Cal-Am Water Co. business phone, told me, “There are no policies or guidelines in place, and we have no powers to enforce any [guidelines]." I asked her what a concerned neighbor could do to prevent wasted water. Kendra suggested someone should call their 24-hour hotline the next time the sprinklers were running, and an inspector would be sent out. If the inspector deems that the water use is excessive, they will leave a door-hanger advising the residents.

The residents of the home with the faulty sprinklers are renters who said they have notified their landlord of the problematic sprinklers, and the landlord said the problem is due to a faulty control box.

In my conversation with the landlord, he said, “I hate all the negative news stories about Imperial Beach that appear in the Union-Tribune and the Reader and wish it would stop.”

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Comments

whitetigger71 Aug. 30, 2009 @ 8:50 p.m.

I manage an apartment complex and even tend to the sprinklers myself. The geysers that Stella describes is not caused by a faulty control box (as the landlord stated). Geysers are caused by broken sprinklers heads. If the landlord wants the negative publicity to stop, then he needs to get someone to fix those sprinklers or do it himself.

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cashmann Aug. 31, 2009 @ 3:06 p.m.

Let's show this landlord something positive can happen in Imperial Beach. Hold him responsible for everthing we can find about this rental property.

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aquarimary Sept. 1, 2009 @ 10:32 a.m.

This water restriction is a joke anyway, no one even complies. I went by the Jack-in-the-Box on the intersection of W. Point Loma & Midway/ Sports Arena at 2:00pm Sunday,water blasting from the sprinklers, running all over the street. Who is policing this kind of waste, for a patch of grass on the corner, on the hottest day of the year? NO ONE! What does Mayor Sanders say? BLAH BLAH BLAH.......

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Peter Salisbury Sept. 5, 2009 @ 5:45 p.m.

September 5, 2009 update: I was contacted by Brian Barreto, External Affairs Manager Southern California from Cal-Am Water. He wanted to clarify Cal-Am’s position with excessive water use. The City of San Diego which sells water to Cal-Am has requested that Cal-Am mirror San Diego’s mandatory water restrictions so they are in the process of getting California Public Utilities Commission approval. Barreto sent inspectors to the home Wednesday, September 2 and the landlord was contacted. No sprinklers operated Thursday 9/4 and on Saturday 9/5 a workman spent several hours repairing the system. My editor told me this demonstrated “The power of the pen.”

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