So you’d think, what with all the crazy rain that we’ve been having, that we’re totally free and clear from that nasty little thing spelled D-R-O-U-G-H-T, right? (Actually, I don’t know anybody who’d say that we’re not in a drought anymore, but the rain does funny things to my head. I have trouble imagining 75 degrees in January for example, and I’ve been pretending that it’s been this wintry for what feels like months…).
In other news important to just about anybody paying money to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, a vota just went through to impose the city’s first water rationing in more than two decades. Under the terms of the plan, every house and business would get its allotment. Once you go past that allotment, your rates would double.
But what I found most remarkable about the article was their mention that 40 percent of the city’s water consumption comes from outdoor irrigation. 40 percent. Think about that for a moment. All the wide lawns and palm trees that have become That’s So LA (or that’s so lame?), they’re using a water. A lot of it. Kind of makes you stop and think, at least for a moment. Right?
I’m sure the people of Colorado will be happy for this newest measure.
Except for the fact that LA doesn’t draw all that much water from the Colorado anymore – the Metropolitan Water District (of which the DWP is the largest member) does, but the LA DWP gets a significant amount of its share from the SWP (I think). So all our rationing aside, it probably won’t bear all that much on the Colorado. But then, I could be very wrong.
I drove by two homes yesterday with their sprinklers on full blast in the rain. And this morning on Venice Boulevard I berated in passing a Thai restaurant employee for hosing down the sidewalk. Told him to use a freakin’ broom and that I’d never be caught dead eating in a place that operates in such an irresponsible and wasteful manner.
I’ve often been astounded by the amount of water that’s wasted watering lawns out here. Ride or walk along any street, and you’ll see lawns watered at high noon, rather than early morning or late evening when there’s less evaporation. Not to mention broken and misaligned sprinklers that water the street and sidewalk more effectively than the lawns. When I lived in Colorado, homeowners were subject to fines or arrest for wasting water like that; here, no one seems to give a damn. Addressing that alone would probably save enough water to avoid rationing.
I think changing behavior on a mass scale might be harder than instituting a rationing system. Maybe fining measures like the aforementioned could work but if you think it about, for those using outdoor irrigation in LA, who probably owns that land? People and corporations that can afford to pay fines and higher water rates if they overuse for rationing I would guess.
T, if you recall, NC has been in a severe drought for about 7-8 years now and people (even elected officials who hand wring over it) haven’t changed their daily lives much. Remember those poetic signs above our toilets first year of college?
I’m not sure if Will’s technique worked on the employee he passed but some sort of shaming techniques similar to that might be more effective than monetary penalties.