Friday, May 08, 2015

California Water Wasters Fight Back

I'm looking out my window this morning at the first really good rain storm I've seen in years. No, that doesn't mean the drought is over but it is a relief to know that water can still fall from the sky. I am more than doing my part.
My latest water bill says I use about 25 gallons of water a day. Of my $50 bimonthly water bill, only ten percent is actual water use, the rest of the bill is connection fees. Just 30 miles up the road from me is Rancho Santa Fe where Nouveau riche millionaires on average consume nearly 600 gallons a day per person.

Individual aqua gluttons use a lot more but we can't know the depths of their depravity because California has a law protecting them.  Back in 1991 California was experiencing another drought and public utility records were, you know, public. Newspaper publisher Helen Copley was found to be using over 10,000 gallons a day, more water than I'll use in a year, while San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor was revealed as a liquid liar. She had claimed to be a dedicated conservationist yet records showed her using 3,248 gallons a day.

After a few good rainy seasons filled reservoirs again, the state's aristocracy quietly set about insuring such embarrassments never happened again. They approached a noted environmental legislator (the Byron Sher Award is still given annually by the Sierra Club for environmental legislative achievement) to write a law declaring the utility bills of rich Californians to be state secrets.

California's elites have been busy in court, too. Recently, judges ruled that charging people higher rates for using more water was illegal and outlawed tiered pricing structures. These judges can keep their massive koi ponds and ornamental gardens at minimal prices.

It is frequently difficult to keep conserving while knowing that every drop of water I save this year will be wasted in a few hours by my "betters." I can't water slut shame the wastrels or even make them pay more per gallon than me.
Lake Mirage Racquet Club in Palm Desert
Sometimes I just want to run my faucet until the reservoirs are completely dry. But, I'm a good citizen. I must be patient. I will polish my guillotine and wait for the revolution.

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