Since 1984, it has been illegal in Tucson to allow water to escape from private property onto another person's property or public property such as alleys and streets. The Water Waste Ordinance and updates reinforce the message that it is unethical and unlawful to waste water in Tucson.
Tucson Water employs conservation inspectors ("water cops") who investigate reported cases of water waste. They also look for evidence of water waste while out on Tucson's streets. A warning is usually issued for a first-time violation and information on how to correct the problem is provided to the individual or business. A citation is written if the problem is not corrected. Under the law, water wasters can be fined a minimum of $250, with subsequent offenses costing more. Depending on circumstances, the ordinance also allows a property manager or landscape contractor to be cited for water waste in addition to the property owner. For more information, click on any of the Water Waste Ordinance links on this page.
It also is illegal to tamper with or bypass water meters. The ordinance regulates illegal hose or water meter tie-ins. An amendment to the Tucson City Code related to bypassing water metering places the burden of proof on the customer if the meter has been tampered with. Violators can be fined a minimum of $250, with subsequent offenses costing more.
Although violations of the Water Waste Ordinance carry the potential for fines and discontinued water service, the goal of conservation inspectors remains educational, even after a citation has been issued. They are available to provide the responsible party with knowledge, skills, and tools needed to effectively control water use on properties.