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Finally, court limits lawn sprinkling

RICHMOND, Calif. -- The city has finally restricted the flow of water for marathon yard sprinkler Alice Richie, ending more than a year of round the clock lawn watering that turned her neighborhood into a quagmire.

Wearing boots, Mrs. Richie watched Monday as a restricted-flow water meter was installed at her home.

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She briefly challenged a worker from the East Bay Municipal Water District but continued to offer no explanation for her non-stop water usage.

Mrs. Richie, a widow, had been using as much as 21,433 gallons of water a day, drenching the neighborhood, undermining the foundations of nearby homes, causing insects to breed, and creating mud, mildew and algae problems.

She ignored court orders to stop the sprinkling, and a city judge last week finally ordered the utility company to install the restrictive device.

The new meter allows Mrs. Richie sufficient water for cooking, bathing and other daily necessities, a spokesman for the utility said, 'but nothing on the scale of what she has been doing.'

Her last water monthly water bill was $465.

Contacted by telephone after the new meter was in place, Mrs. Richie said, 'Listen, I don't talk to strangers.' Then she hung up.

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