GLENDORA ( — A married couple in Glendora says they’re in hot water after they stopped watering their front lawn in response to the state’s drought crisis.

Laura and Michael Korte received a letter Tuesday from the city’s code enforcement bureau warning that their brown lawn could be a “potential public nuisance problem” and that they needed to get it green or face consequences, CBS2/KCAL9’s Kaj Goldberg reported.

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“They’re threatening us and we’re not sure why, especially considering it’s a drought,” said Michael, while standing outside his home on the 200 block of West Colorado Avenue.

KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the couple was warned they could face up to $500 in fines and possible criminal action if they failed to revive their lawn.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“My understanding was that we were supposed to reduce our watering, and here I was getting a letter saying that I would be fined if I did not increase the watering,” Whitney said. “When we’re given a flyer that says we’re going to be fined, or possibly subject to criminal action, if we don’t get the lawn green and lush, it just seemed very wrong to me.”

They said they were only doing what Gov. Jerry Brown in May asked all California residents to do: conserve water.

Glendora residents have largely heeded calls from Gov. Jerry Brown to conserve water with a reduction in overall water consumption of 11 percent between 2008 to 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The same day the couple received the letter, state regulators authorized fines up to $500 for any California residents who are caught over-watering lawns.

Glendora Mayor Judy Nelson told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the city has a responsibility to take extra measures during ongoing drought conditions statewide.

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“We are very concerned that we’re going to be losing trees because of this,” said Nelson. “People don’t water … these trees that are very important to the quality of life.”

Instead of just turning off the sprinklers, Nelson recommended that residents replace their grass with drought-tolerant plants and use moderation when watering their lawns to avoid letting them discolor.

“A brown lawn is not attractive and at this time it’s not necessary,” Nelson said. “Even by state standards, they’re not asking people to let their lawns go brown.”

The Korte’s acknowledge their lawn has become a bit unsightly, but say they were just trying to avoid violations for wasting water. They now fear they could be facing violations for saving water.

“Here we are being threatened with fines or possible criminal actions for just supporting the environment,” Michael said.

The couple has placed numerous calls to the number listed on the flyer. Michael has gone to Glendora City Hall to speak with a preservation officer.

They’re afraid there’s only one answer to their problem: “We would have to really start pouring water on it, at this point, to try and get it green.”

Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers was not available for comment on Thursday.

Michael and Laura say they’re going to continue to dry out their lawn to make it more eco-friendly, and hope to settle the matter with the city.

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