The pressure to conserve is leading to some surreal scenes:
The anti-drought initiative has coincided with efforts by Villaraigosa to keep his top appointee at the DWP, Commission President Nick Patsaouras, from quitting his post. Perhaps the utility's most aggressive watchdog on spending issues, Patsaouras sent a resignation e-mail Monday, but the mayor refused to accept it."Refuse to accept resignation"? "Drought Busters"? "Daytime sprinkler violations"?
Villaraigosa discussed his appointee as he stood near two of the city's 16 "drought busters," inspectors who will issue fines to those caught violating the new rules two or more times. The team will look for various violations, such as washing cars with a hose that lacks a shut-off device.
One resident questioned whether the city was being fastidious about its own water usage. West Los Angeles resident Eric Shabsis said he had seen sprinklers running during the day outside the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center and a city facility in Palms.
While I appreciate the "need" for action in SoCal, these measures are probably the least effective way to get people to use less water.
This article says why:
Mayor Jerry Sanders began pushing residents earlier this year to save water. He acknowledged last week, though, that the effort had failed and said the city may in fact use more water this year than it has previously.The UCAN report [PDF] gives many tips on how to conserve water, but people need a reason to conserve. I'll let you guess....
Shames dubbed the authority's 20-Gallon Challenge, which has urged residents to save 20 gallons each day, "woefully inadequate."
"I violently disagree with this almost pathological preoccupation with education," Shames said. "Education is like an excuse for yet another pamphlet."
The UCAN report says officials from cities and water districts throughout the region must increase -- not decrease -- their conservation efforts. One of the most important steps, Shames said, is to establish tiered water rates that penalize the heaviest users. While many districts charge more as a customer consumes more water, the price hike isn't significant enough, he said.
"The customer who conserves isn't being given the proper message that you're doing a good job," Shames said. "Because it doesn't have much of an impact on what they're charged. The signals are so horribly upside down in the way we charge for water in this county."
Bottom Line: Raise prices.
hattips to DW