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The city of Sacramento is beefing up its water enforcement efforts following Tuesday night's council meeting. The council voted unanimously to impose a Stage 2 mandatory water shortage plan.

Stage 2 is the second of four stagesof water conservation, with the highest, Stage 4, calling for 40 to 50 percent water use reduction.

The low water levels on the American River and the Folsom Reservoir have raised severe drought concerns and residents are now asked to cut back on their water use by 20 percent.

City officials say the only way to enforce the ordinance is by tracking outdoor watering.

On Wednesday, water waste inspectors were out in full force, educating residents about the mandatory water restrictions.

"We're trying to make the public aware that there is a crisis," said Ronald Carpenter, an inspector with the Water Conservation Department.

He was checking to make sure people follow the city ordinance and only water once a week, Saturday or Sunday, before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

During an inspection route in southwest Sacramento, Carpenter found a few homes not in compliance.

"Everyone needs to check their controllers are on the correct watering day and the watering time," he said.

Inspectors document water use abuse and issue a violation.

The first is just a warning but repeat offenders will be cited. A second violation means a $50 fine, a third will cost residents $200, while a fourth will add up to $1,000.

"We keep a record of every house we've been to," Carpenter said.

While inspectors drive around neighborhoods looking for violators, they say most of the people they cite are reported by a neighbor.

As far as indoor water use, officials say there is no way to enforce the 20 percent reduction but residents should limit their water intake as much as possible.

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