Sunday, July 19, 2015

Water Wasting

The San Jose Mercury News has a story on the use of water flow restrictors. Water districts aren't really using them yet but have them available if customers refuse to control their water use. They have used them before:

"The district did use them in previous droughts. Famously in 1977, as TV cameras and newspaper photographers recorded the moment, the district clamped one on the home of Raymond and Phyllis Olson, a Hayward couple who were using 883 gallons a day."

883 gallons a day??? You'd have to work to use that much water. I wonder what they used it on? 
No need for those up here as we have a surplus of water, unlike pretty much everywhere else in the state, but I still get annoyed when I see people wasting water.

Was working over by Eureka High School a while back. I drive up and the guy living next to the tennis courts is watering down his truck. I assumed he was getting ready to wash it. I go to work, then see him hosing down the plants around his house. Not watering, just spraying the foliage. Then he hoses down the driveway a bit, then back to the plants.

I'm there 30 to 45 minutes. By the time I leave he gets back to hosing down the truck again. I'm not sure if he ever got around to washing it.

The Asian folks that live caddy corner from us did major makeover of their yard earlier this year. For some reason they felt a need to pressure wash their sidewalks. We didn't think much of it at first. Over three hours later when the guy was still washing down the same 30 to 40 feet of sidewalk we started wondering what the hell he was doing. 

I guess he just liked seeing the water spray, just as the guy did hosing down everything in the front of his house. People like water.
We really shouldn't be annoyed by people wasting water, though, at least up here. Down in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties they've been dealing with serious water shortages for three years. As a result, people were scrimping and saving to conserve water. They conserved fairly well, only to see their water bills increase. 

People were pissed, and rightfully so. You use less water, your bill should be lower, or so it would seem. The problem was the water districts weren't selling enough water to pay everyone and maintain infrastructure so they had to charge more for less water being used.

I'm not sure if that would happen up here. I'm not sure how much water use we pay for in our monthly bill. I get the impression we'd still pay around $50 if we didn't use any water. We did see water bills go up quite a bit after all the mills closed. The large amount of water they used essentially subsidized the rest of our bills. 

With that in mind you have to wonder if it makes sense to get pissed off at someone you see over irrigating their lawn or otherwise wasting water. We do have water to waste up here, and they might be saving everyone else money.


At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that we need to reduce our usage by 25 percent from our usage from the given month in 2013 so if you used 5,000 Cubic Feet (37,403 Gallon) in July 2013 then you can use up to 3,750 Cubic Feet (28,052 Gallon) in July 2015. As long as your neighbors are following the rules it should be okay. I check my water meter at least once a week to make sure I'm not using more than I should.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

In the greater Eureka area- those that draw water from the Mad River/Ruth Lake- that really isn't necessary. They have to have restrictions because of a state mandate, but we have plenty of water up here. 50 million gallons a day extra.

Water you don't use just goes out to the ocean where you have to wait for it to come back as rain or snow before you can use it again.

Water we use isn't exactly wasted, aside from whatever it may cost. If it goes down your drain, it ends up in a sewer treatment plant (which could be considered an additional cost and thus waste of money), but then goes back into the ocean.

If it's used for irrigation or anything else outside, it mostly evaporates and goes up to the clouds where it eventually comes back as rain or snow.

Whether you "waste" it, or not, it doesn't disappear forever, and whatever water we supposedly save up here does nothing for parched areas that don't have enough, or any, water. They could mandate using 50% less water than we are. That won't do a thing for folks in the other parts of the state.

To be clear, areas south of Eureka and in Southern Humboldt do have water problems and they do need to be concerned.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Julie Timmons said...

I have some containers on the patio that I water but I haven't ever watered my lawn or washed a car at home. Are the commercial car washes having to restrict their water use? They would probably be able to control their use more than a homeowner could. Not that I'm advocating everyone go to car washes but it might be a "greener' choice these days.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

They probably don't do it up here but I've read elsewhere that many car washes use recycled water.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Oh, I don't think I've washed my truck in 2 or 3 years.


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