Local News

Jul 31, 2014 4:28 PM by Janine Reyes

City Policing Water Violators

CORPUS CHRISTI -- The city is sending a clear message on stage 2 water restrictions: it means business.

The 'water police' are busy patrolling for violators in Corpus Christi.

We rode along with them to see how they do their job. Their first stop this morning was a house on Sun Valley Road. A tip led them to the home and when we got there, we found very clear violations. It sounded like rain right in front of the home this morning as the sprinkler sprayed water onto the roof, and it trickled down to the sidewalk below.

Before we ever made it to the home, we could clearly see water waste, with water runoff in front of house after house on Sun Valley Road, the only source, the one house we visited.

Water department worker Gilbert Castillo is a first responder for water waste.

He does have other duties, but today he's reinforcing the city's stage two water restrictions.

"Yesterday was trash," said one man he approached when he spotted his sprinklers running the day after his trash pick up day. "Yes, sir," Castillo responded, "I'm just going to give you a warning, let you know that I notified you that your sprinklers were running."

Next time, it will be a citation.

The man refused to talk to us on camera, but blamed the water violation on his stepson.

"Yeah, I'll have to get on his ---," the man said, "that's who's parked there."

But back to the neighbor, who decided to water the roof this morning, leaving runoff trickling down to the sidewalk below, and down the street as well.

No one answered there, but Castillo did collect evidence.

He also left a written warning. "It's the sprinklers, irrigation between 10 and 6, allowing water runoff into the street and gutter and allowing sprinklers to spray on paved area," Castillo said, identifying the violations.

If he comes here again, it could cost the person who lives there up to $500.

"If you got called back and it looks like this again, would you hesitate to cite them," we asked.

"No, not at all, a second time is automatically a violation if they're caught," Castillo said.

Castillo cannot actually issue citations, none of the utility department first responders can. But they do document the case and hand it over to code enforcement, who writes the citation.

As for the home in violation today, we looked it up and the homeowners live out of town, so it's probably a tenant. No one answered when we knocked.

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