Local man takes on role as ‘water police’

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NORTH PARK, Calif. -- He’s not out to stalk you...but he is watching.

“I see it more as just being a second eye out there. I keep my eye out as I go to the grocery store,” said Travis Pritchard as he looked for water waste Wednesday evening.

“Drives me nuts,” said the man some have nicknamed “the water police.”

Pritchard is taking it upon himself to find water waste and report it.

“The city needs to be proactive, really finding the water wasters,” he said.

FOX 5 followed him during one of his patrols near Maryland and Lincoln Streets in North Park and within minutes he came across a leak.

“It has saturated this whole median strip,” said the San Diego native and member of San Diego Coast Keeper, an environmental watchdog group.

“There’s a lot of just waste that comes from either leaks like this or poor irrigation practices,” he said.

Just down the block he spotted a wet sidewalk, which is an irrigation violation under new drought mandates.

The 33-year-old man also has video of a broken sprinkler near Ace Hardware in North Park.

He said it’s the type of thing water officials should be paying more attention too.

“You can have all the mandatory rules that you want but if there’s no enforcement then those aren’t mandatory rules,” said the North Park resident.

FOX 5 reached out to San Diego water officials who told us they have 17 workers patrolling city streets looking for water use violations and are in the process of hiring more.

Pritchard said he has yet to see them in his neighborhood and is worried of just how much water is being wasted across the city.

He’s also concerned about how long city workers will take to respond to his water waste complaints.


  • Crystal

    Here’s why I think this is a bad idea to play citizen’s auxiliary water police. At home here, where we do follow the water requirements, we go a step further and use some gray water to supplement – which the city should be supporting. However, because of water police like this guy, they make a complaint, the city doesn’t take the time to verify it, they just threaten the resident with a fine. This happened to us and were told it didn’t matter whether it was true or not, that is they received one more complaint there would be a fine. Now we are nervous about using gray water. We can talk about the rules not meaning anything until they’re enforced, but until the enforcer takes responsibility to so the job this is going to create a lot of unfair problems for people I’m afraid – and no- he doesn’t know the difference if I watered down my side walk with grey water or not- just like in this story it was assumed potable water was used which may have not been the case, prime example right there. I think Pritchard should get a new hobby personally and if he’s concerned, complain, don’t tattle on his neighbors.

    • Joe Cresser

      That’s ridiculous. Wow. Agreed that water cop needs to simmer down. Sorry you’re having to deal with your situation.

  • Charlotte Rae

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations apparently are literally draining water into the sea all for the sake of a three-inch fish.
    800,000 acre-feet into the San Francisco Bay last winter and an additional 445,000 acre-feet this spring to safeguard the endangered delta smelt.”


  • Douche

    This guy really has no life, no clue, and probably wastes water in a different way. Water on the sidewalk street don’t tell the real or even accurate story. A little water running along the curb goes a long way. 2.5 gallons can make a sidewalk look saturated and travel quite a distance. It is also the same amount as 1 single toilet flush or a shower warm up or even the amount of water evaporated in an hour in a city water feature. The water bill compared to the number of people in a house will tell a more accurate story. I.e. if the resident of the house follows the yellow mellow brown down rule, reuses bath towels, doesn’t leave the water runing while brushing and shaving, carefully does the dishes, takes efficient cold showers, does complete laundry loads etc. then a little water on the sidewalk is relatively insignificant.

  • wlov

    Mr. Pritchard, what are your thoughts on the massive amounts of water needed for all the new developments going up like the one on Friars?

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