A San Diego woman called a local news channel to report that her homeowners association was routinely wasting water by running the sprinkler system for hours overnight. When questioned, the property management company running her neighborhood claimed that the irrigation system has been repeatedly beset by vandals who stole the sprinkler heads. However, the woman who made the complaint is skeptical of these complaints, and the problem has apparently continued.
In late July, Andrea Gonzales noticed that the sprinklers in the Autumn Crest development were running all night, a troubling realization given that the area is experiencing a severe drought. In response, she recorded a video and sent it to San Diego’s Team 10 News and complained to the Autumn Crest HOA property management company. Gonzales says she was told that there were four broken valves, and that she suggested the sprinkler system be shut down until the problem was fixed. When she saw that the problem was not being rectified, she called Team 10.
When Team 10 spoke to Property Management Consultants Inc., the company that manages Gonzales’ homeowners association, a representative reported that the valves had been fixed on Monday, July 28. However, when the news team saw the problem still happening on Friday, August 1, they returned to property management office. There, the owner reported that a landscaper had fixed the issue, but that people had been stealing sprinkler heads and tampering with the system for three months. Following the interview, the landscaping company, San Diego Landscapes, called Team 10 and stated that the vandalism has been occurring for five months, causing the constant watering.
“To curb costs and stay on top of maintenance issues, it is imperative that HOA’s have a community management company they can trust. Vandalism is a never ending problem in many areas and having a reliable, proactive manager who notes and quickly acts to resolve issues can make all the difference when it comes to preventing the astronomical water bills or damage to the community’s assets,” said Level Property Management owner, Anne Calarco.
San Diego Landscapes reported that 15 sprinklers had been smashed the week of July 28, implying that people were setting off the sprinklers to let them run all night. However, the police have yet to be contacted about the vandalism issue, and residents have not been given notice about what has been happening. However, Gonzales says she believes they are making excuses, questioning why vandals would take apart a sprinkler head.
Property Management Consultants Inc. informed Team 10 that they have sent out bids for a security system and locks for the water equipment. However, as the drought continues, the cause of the water waste remains a mystery: is the property management company to blame, as Gonzales suspects, or are residents of the community taking matters into their own hands to ensure their grass stays green?