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Flour Bluff family cited for water restriction violation, despite using well water

Drought restrictions still in play
Posted at 6:20 AM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 07:20:38-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In January 2023, stage one water restrictions remain in place for the city of Corpus Christi. They've been in place since the summer of 2022.

Elizabeth Benavides said back in December she found a citation on the front door of her Flour Bluff home. A city compliance officer cited her and her husband for watering their lawn on a Saturday, when their trash pick up day is Friday. But the Benavides family uses well water to irrigate their lawn, an exemption of water restrictions. In fact, many neighbors in the area use well water.

“We’ve got two signs, one there and one there, indicating we have a well,” she said pointing to a sign in her yard and a sign in the window of her garage.

None of her neighbors had an issue when she asked several online. Benavides said she tried calling the 311 line to tell the city she thinks they made a mistake.

“Number eight specifically says water wells are exempt and they said well you’re going to get something in the mail saying how you can dispute it," Benavides said. "We never got anything in the mail.”

Now she has to appear in court to see if she in fact has to pay the $476 fine.

“It’s a waste of the courts time, it’s a waste of our time," she said. "And, I just think that they really need to steam line their process if they’re going to be fining people.”

After asking the city for a response, they said the Benavides’ were cited because they have not registered the use of their well water with the city. Benavides said they were not aware of this rule in the 15 years they’ve lived there.

A reason for that is that rule is not listed on the literature the city has put out about drought restrictions. It is, however, listed in the city conservation plan on page 85.

City officials said the Benavides home wasn't listed in their registry, but other homes in their neighborhood were listed.

“There should be some way to dispute it without having to go to court,” Benavides said.

Benavides said she will update us on what happens in court on Wednesday.

If you need to register your well water you can find that link here on the city's website.

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