[BAY FEATURE]Bay Area Drought Watch

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Coverage of California's looming water problem

Santa Clara Valley Water District Offers App to Report Water Wasters

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Add a free app to the list of how the Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to enforce new regulations from the state and reach an overall conservation goal of 20 percent. Marianne Favro reports. (Published Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014)

    Add a free app to the list of how the Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to enforce new regulations from the state and reach an overall conservation goal of 20 percent.

    The district, which will also spend up to $500,000 to hire water cops, now offers an app for residents to report water wasters.

    "We can't be everywhere, so this allows people to be the eyes and ears of the community," said Marty Grimes, Santa Clara Valley Water District spokesman. "If they see a problem they can let us know. And often the owner doesn't even know it's a problem -- for example a sprinkler head is broken."

    The app, Access Valley Water, allows users to take a photo of water waste and give an address. Residents can also report water waste on the app anonymously.

    The district's water cops are expected to start next month and will monitor the complaints. Water cops will not have the authority to issue fines, but can report egregious water wasters to their water provider or city, which can issue penalties.

    San Jose-resident Nilda Houseman said she is in favor of saving water, but is not a fan of the anonymous app approach.

    "It's not appropriate if you report someone," Houseman said. "You should be willing to give your name and stand by it, and be willing to testify to it."

    District officials admit the reporting system could be abused by feuding neighbors, which is why they encourage users to leave their name so water cops can reply on how the problem was resolved.