ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - In this extreme drought water wasters aren't just squandering a precious resource, they could be throwing money down the drain in the form of newly doubled fines.
And the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has upped the number of "water cops" patrolling the streets.
Patrolling the streets of the metro area on the lookout for water wasters goes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Time-of-day watering restrictions took effect on April 1 and will continue through October.
It's a task that falls to water-use compliance inspectors like Brian Harvey.
"We're looking for anything that would flow into the public right of way, and right now it looks like that system is operating efficiently," Harvey told KRQE News 13 as he patrolled through an Albuquerque neighborhood.
Basically any water you use-- whether it's for watering your lawn or washing your car-- has to stay on your property. If it doesn't, you could face a fine.
Harvey says most violators are reported by neighbors although compliance inspectors have to catch a violator in the act.
"Times are really important when the waste is observed because that's when we want to catch the system on," Harvey said. "We do need to catch the system on to prove that this is where the waste is coming from."
The water authority has more people enforcing the rules this year.
"We do take this very seriously," said Conservation Officer Katherine Yuhas. "It's never a good idea to waste water, but particularly this year when we're already in extreme drought this early in the spring. It's very important to recognize this."
Fines for water wasters have doubled because of the drought. Violating the rules could cost you from $40 up to $4,000 per violation.
"So it's starting to be a little more painful in your pocketbook," Yuhas said.
The water authority hopes you take note to save water and save yourself the fine.
Last year about one-fifth of all violations assessed by the water authority were for time-of-day watering restrictions. The water authority expects that number to go up this year with the increased patrols.
Water wasting can be reported by calling 768-3640.
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