Mayor's Action Center releases water ban phone calls

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For the first time, we're hearing the phone calls made as the watering ban took effect in Marion County on July 13.

Calls to the Mayor's Action Center (MAC) lit up with people reporting violations, asking questions and simply complaining.

Eyewitness News listened to nearly 150 audio clips from calls made to the MAC July 13th and in the next few days that followed.

People weren't shy about tattling on their neighbors. One man called to say, "My neighbor, I just looked out a back window, and he's watering his yard."

A woman called in to say, "Well, I wanted to call. I got a bad person with their sprinkler system going."

Most people were polite as they called in to those staffing the MAC.

"Hi Bobbi, I need to report someone that's watering their lawn profusely during this ban," said one caller.

Others were a bit miffed by the actions of others. "My neighbor got his sprinkler going just as proud, like no one ever said anything about water."

It wasn't just sprinklers that got people's attention.

One man reported, "There's a house on the back corner of our property that has a pool. They're using the fire hydrant to refill their pool."

Many others called with questions, not sure what they could do and couldn't under the new rules.

"Can I wash a dog pen every other day or I can't do that at all?" one man asked.

Others worried about the impact on their businesses. One man said he owned an asphalt company, noting he needed water to lay asphalt. He worried about using a hose.

"Is somebody gonna come out and grab me off the street and say, 'You're using water, you can't use water?'" he asked.

Several callers were a bit teed off that golf courses were exempt from the ban.

"I understand it's their business," one woman said, "but what makes them so special that they just got to have green grass? Cause the mayor plays golf or something?"

Another man shared a similar beef. "But it's okay for them to water a green so some guys can go play golf?'

There were also a handful of callers upset with the whole darned thing.

One man railed, "Is anybody telling Eli Lilly they can't water their lawn?" The staff person asked, "Are they watering theirs?" The man replied, "Everybody waters their lawn. We pay for the water. Why can't we use it?" The staff person explained, "Right now because there's a ban because it's so dry out." The man shot back, "But the ban is unconstitutional! You can't tell someone what they pay for and they can't use it."

The bas was lifted September 5th. According to a spokesperson with the Department of Code Enforcement they issued 36 citations, 812 warnings and did 1,022 inspections during that seven-week period.