Sprinkler Runoff Can Spell Costly Road Repairs

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Armed with a camera and a computer Letty Mancha patrols the streets of Midland looking for code violations, and it doesn't take long to find nuisance water violators.

"We don't just have a problem with nuisance water in the Spring, but in the Winter too," Mancha said.

Sprinkler runoff not only wastes water but wastes taxpayer money. Each year, Midland spends roughly $350,000 dollars on roadwork including repairs, but crews say drainage can add repairs by speeding up the natural wear and tear.

Mancha is one of six code enforcement officers licensed by the state.  It may not seem like a big job but tackling violations saves you money, and when it comes to nuisance water, it saves that too.

"When water freezes, it causes more damage." Code Enforcement Supervisor, Rick Arellano said the damage is costly.

On a NewsWest 9 ride along, it was mostly clear skies and lots of soaked streets.

"The new arrangement with the code office just checking the water, it's going to help the situation," Mancha says the department has hired code enforcement officers to work exclusively on targeting water wasters and to eradicate junk cars in town.

Broken sprinkler heads are often to blame, but Mancha says you can help by limiting your watering time to ten minutes. Fines can go up to $500 dollars for nuisance water complaints.

At Midland High School sprinkler runoff is mild, but District officials say they're working to improve the standard. The district is working with the city to install underground irrigation at each campus over a five year period, but the work is only about 30 percent complete.

Drought conditions may force the Colorado River Municipal Water District to impose restrictions but Spokesperson John Grant says that won't be at least for another year and will depend on the rainfall in 2009. Still, Grant encourages everyone to conserve as much as possible.