Thursday, May 22, 2008

Unfair Water Rationing

Our local water company, EBMUD, has imposed mandatory water rationing due to drought conditions. While I think this is clearly the right thing to do, they way that they are going about it unfairly rewards water wasters.

Single-family homes are being asked to reduce total water usage by 19%, based upon the last three years of water use. Customers who do not reduce total use will be penalized. So, people who were already conserving water will have to cut back by the same percentage as water wasters.

We arrived here in the Bay Area about 1.5 years ago, so we don't have three years worth of bills to average. Shortly after we arrived, I took a look at our water usage, and made an effort to cut back. I set the automatic sprinklers to run three days a week (they had been going every day), and turned them off completely in a couple areas of the garden. This made a HUGE difference in the amount of water we used: we cut back our daily usage by 60%. I also compost, rather than using the garbage disposal, and we already have a stupid low-flow toilet that has to be plunged several times a week. We only run the dishwasher and washer when they're full, and we don't leave the water running when brushing our teeth.

I thought we were doing the right thing by reducing water usage before it became mandatory, but it turns out I was just making our lives more difficult now. Instead of simply cutting back our outdoor watering (which, by the way, made our house settle to one side when the clay soil dried up over the summer, preventing interior doors from closing until the rainy season started), we have to find more things to cut. I've asked the kids to take shorter showers (they were standing around, enjoying the hot water), and I think this has finally convinced DH to stop pre-washing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.


1 comment:

mundungus42 said...

Ugh, that is ridiculous! I would write a strongly-worded letter to see if you can get some sort of exemption.