Tall City Crackdown on Water Wasters

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - During a crunch for water, some Midland businesses are feeling the crunch from the city.

In the last two days, city officials told NewsWest 9 they have busted three different buildings that are wasting so much water that they're breaking an ordinance that's been in the books since 1986.

Nuisance watering.

"Nuisance water is water that leaves the property and gets into the street or to the alley and causes potential damage to the paving," Midland Building Official, Steve Thorpe, said.

It's punishable by a citation of up to $500 because of how much water it wastes.

In order to be cited for Nuisance Water, the water would have to be flowing off the curb and free-standing in the street, not only wasting water but damaging the roads.

Several businesses in Midland have already done that.

City officials told NewsWest 9 they've handed out the citations in order for everyone to know that water must be taken care of.

"Less water in the aquifer, less water that can be potentially pumped out of the ground for others," Thorpe said.

NewsWest 9 hit the streets to ask residents what they thought of it after already being on water restrictions.

"I don't see why they think they're above the compliance," Midland resident, Teresa Johnson, said. "We're in a water restriction because we're in a need for water. We're not praying for rain because we don't have nothing else better to do. They need to be in compliance as well as everyone else."

"I think if you're not trying to conserve, if you're just 'I don't care, it doesn't matter to me', you need to be cited," Midland resident, Leslie Oldham, said.

The crackdown isn't over, city officials said one of the buildings they busted on Wednesday was a repeat offender on Thursday morning, and that even Mayor Wes Perry is contacting the owner for their next citation.

"There was another incident this morning and we're still attempting to locate the responsible party," Thorpe said. "He will be issued another set of citations."

City officials said more citations will be made if it means saving every drop.

The Nuisance Watering ordinance is separate from the water restrictions. It's been a Midland ordinance for 25 years.

Many of you are fired up on the subject. If you'd like to throw in your two cents, tell us what you think on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/newswest9. We'll air some of your comments Friday on NewsWest 9 First News at Four.