Early 20th century Santa Rosa had plenty of rules and regs on water use, and gave city workers broad powers to enforce them. As noted earlier, a policeman who heard water running overnight could wake up homeowners and require them to shut off the faucet; a city inspector could come into your home and write a $2.50 citation for every leaky fixture, and as shown below, firemen could enforce a city ordinance requiring all lawn and garden watering to cease when the fire bell rang. The “irrigation hours” mentioned here was another water regulation holdover from the last century; depending upon your address, homeowners could only water at certain hours in either the afternoon or evening, the starting and ending times announced by the tooting of the town’s steam whistle, not to be confused with the fire bell, which signaled that all water should be shut off . It wasn’t the Edwardian Era in America – it was the Pavlovian Era.
TURN OFF WATER AT FIRE ALARM
Ordinance Will Be Strictly Enforced–Meeting of the Fire Commissioners Last Night
There is a city ordinance that provided when a fire alarm is sounded persons who are irrigating their lawns shall immediately shut off the water.
At a meeting of the Fire Commissioners last night, Fire Chief Muther in ____ [illegible microfilm] to have his his men keep a sharp lookout to see that the ordinance is strictly obeyed.
There were four alarms of fire during the month. The most serious conflagration being at the old Ladies’ College building on McDonald avenue. The Chief called attention to the lack of water to combat this fire, explaining that the hydrant is on a “dead end” and the fire occurring during “irrigation hours” sufficient water could only be obtained for one stream.– Press Democrat, May 22, 1907