Better known as water cops.
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Steve Upton thinks of himself more as an “Officer Friendly” than a water cop.

On a recent sunny day, the water waste inspector rolled through a quiet Sacramento neighborhood in his white pickup truck after a tipster tattled on people watering their lawns on prohibited days.

He approached two culprits. Rather than slapping them with fines, Upton offered to change the settings on their sprinkler systems.

“I don’t want to crack down on them and be their Big Brother,” said Upton, who works for the water conservation unit of Sacramento’s utilities department. “People don’t waste water on purpose. They don’t know they are wasting water.”