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Hillsborough County cracks down on water violators

TAMPA – All water users in unincorporated Hillsborough County are subject to the year-round outdoor lawn watering restrictions, but code enforcement officers are cracking down on violators a bit harder in May when they typically see the most water-using due to the dry season.

Code enforcement officers typically ride around neighborhoods from early in the morning until sunrise, take down the violator's address, snap a photo for evidence, and later send a warning or violation notice to that property.

Typically, this time of year, officers say they'll find as many as 20 to 30 violations each before the sun even comes up, but sometimes those numbers are lower.

"We typically start off with a warning, and then from there it escalates up to $500 in $100 increments," said Hillsborough Code Enforcement Officer Jon-Paul Lavendeira. "Usually, people don't get to that point, they tend to wise up a bit on the warning offenses because this isn't a money-making operation. It's more or less for educating the community."