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updated: 8/9/2014 10:20 AM

Drought lessons: Water wasters attend Water School

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  • Nik Martinelli, a water conservation specialist for the city of Santa Cruz, looks at water run-off from a plant irrigation system at an office park in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Unlike most cities that have either groundwater, a connection to state water canals, or vast reservoirs, Santa Cruz is among those worst hit by the drought because it relies almost exclusively on storm runoff into a river, some creeks and an aging reservoir.

      Nik Martinelli, a water conservation specialist for the city of Santa Cruz, looks at water run-off from a plant irrigation system at an office park in Santa Cruz, Calif., Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Unlike most cities that have either groundwater, a connection to state water canals, or vast reservoirs, Santa Cruz is among those worst hit by the drought because it relies almost exclusively on storm runoff into a river, some creeks and an aging reservoir.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Dozens of residents who violated their strict rations of water in the drought-stricken California beach town of Santa Cruz are taking a seat at Water School.

Some of the residents overindulged their zucchini patch. Others didn't bother with that dripping kitchen sink. They are now hoping that by attending Water School, they will be able to get distressing penalties waived.

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At a recent Water School, Nik Martinelli, a Santa Cruz water-conservation specialist, launched a lesson warning the crowd that they all went over their allotment and have been penalized.

Two hours later, everyone was ready to ace their Water School quiz, identifying the community's sparse water sources and listing ways to conserve water.

So far more than $202,000 in fines have been suspended for Water School graduates.

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