Allen residents hit with hefty fines for violating water restrictions

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 19 at 11:19 AM

ALLEN - Water your lawn on the wrong day, and pay a steep fine. They're not messing around in Allen.

In the weeks since Allen entered Stage 3 Water Restrictions, officials have issued 314 citations and 363 warnings.

Allen city leaders put signs up across the city. They sent out mailings. They used the media to get their message out.

Even so, hundreds of people still watered on days they're not allowed to.

Lirjeta Topciu watered on the wrong day. She's hoping the city court will show leniency.

"I didn't know they had water restrictions, because I just moved back into my house," Topciu said. "I had tenants living in my house."

She and scores of other violators are picking up their citations at an Allen pump station. Most could face fines of $200 or higher.

"I forgot to turn my water system off, because my water system doesn't allow me to program it every 15 to 20 days," said Phil Wood, another Allen water customer who was cited.

Some of the 314 people who were cited wonder why the numbers are so high.

"I think they were trying to make some money," Topciu said.

But Allen officials said what they pay the North Texas Municipal Water District for water far exceeds the money they're bringing in from fines.

"The notion that we're getting rich off it strictly isn't happening," said Steve Massey, Allen Community Services Director.

Allen's 363 warnings are for other Stage 3 violations. Among them: hosed watering of pavement, windows or buildings as well as the use of ornamental fountains.

The city water watchers expect those numbers to drop, once more people get the message.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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