It’s difficult not to have some sympathy for California homeowners in the middle of a scorching drought. Mike Soubirous (above) has a full acre of beautiful flowers, bushes, and trees that require watering to remain healthy, as can be seen here:
“Conservation [of water] isn’t that simple…I don’t know how I can reduce my water rate,” he said. I feel your pain Mike…or maybe not. Soubirous sits on the Riverside City Council which unanimously voted this past summer to implement strict new water restrictions in reaction to the drought.
Around the state, politicians and regulators shamed and berated citizens for “selfishly” and “unnecessarily” bathing, showering, washing pets, filling up kiddie pools, and watering lawns instead of ripping them out in favor of “environmentally responsible” green-painted gravel and the like. Enforcers were ready to hand out $500 fines.
Best of all was the snitch campaign where politicians, regulators, and local TV and radio media encouraged neighbors to turn in neighbors. Photos and partial addresses of homes with lawn sprinklers running were tweeted or posted on Facebook or local TV and radio station Web sites.
When the smoke cleared, who were some of the heaviest water users? Water authorities. While single-family houses in California on average consume about 361 gallons of water per day (CA DWR 2011), ten homes owned by councilmen or utilities or water regulators used an average of about 1,250 gallons or more of water per day in 2013. The worst “water hog” hypocrite? Fresno councilman Oliver Baines (about 3,500 average gallons per day) with second place going to Soubirous (almost 3,000 gallons average per day and more than 1,000,000 per year).
Government hypocrites live in some nice houses. No green-painted gravel, artificial grass, or trees there. (Photos: Stuart Palley/CIR)8:14 pm on October 8, 2014 Email Dale Steinreich