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.”