California Couple Try To Conserve Water, Face $500 Fine for Brown Lawn

| by Lisa Fogarty

A California couple is in hot water for trying to conserve water.

Michael Korte and his wife Laura Whitney-Korte, who are from Glendora, could be forced to pay $500 in fines for letting their lawn turn brown. The couple was attempting to conserve water and help their state as it suffers its third year of droughts, reports Daily Mail.

They reportedly received a letter on Tuesday from the code enforcement bureau warning them that they could be subjected to fines and even criminal charges if they didn’t get their grass into tip-top shape within 60 days.

The letter read: “Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green.”

Included in the letter were three photographs: one of a dead lawn with a red line through it, another of a weedy lawn with a line through it, and an unmarked picture of a healthy green lawn with a sprinkler.

Whitney-Korte says she has been trying to conserve water by watering her lawn no more than two times a week, in addition to turning off the faucet while she brushed her teeth, reports San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The Kortes say they want to abide by Gov. Jerry Brown’s request that Californians reduce water consumption by 20 percent, but that they now aren’t sure what to do. Their home state is experiencing its third year of record low rainfall.

In order to get their lawn back to a lush green, they say they’ll have to water it daily – which could also subject them to a fine.

“It seems like you’ll be fined if you overwater but we will be fined no matter what,” Whitney-Korte said.

The couple plans to cover their grass with plastic sheeting, kill the roots, cover it with mulch, and re-seed it.

Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers said a neighbor complained about the unkempt appearance of the Korte’s front lawn, which led them to take action, but insists the letter was a “friendly” one.

“We are consistently telling people conserve,” Jeffers said. “But I don’t think the state is saying we have to have dirt or unlandscaped property. You have to make a community appearance so property values don’t plummet.”

Sources: Daily Mail, San Gabriel Valley Tribune