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CALIFORNIA (CBS/AP) - A California couple who scaled back watering due to drought received a letter from the city warning that they could face fines if they don't get their brown lawn green again.

Laura Whitney and her husband Michael Korte received a letter Tuesday from the code enforcement bureau warning that their dry grass could be a "potential public nuisance problem," according to a report cited by the Associated Press.

The letter threatened the couple with up to $500 in fines and possible criminal action if they failed to revive their lawn.

"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," said Whitney.

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

Glendora Mayor Judy Nelson say the city has a responsibility to take extra measures during ongoing drought conditions statewide.

"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."

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