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Off Topic: California Water (followup)

Back in July I wrote about how many of my neighbors are water pigs, with green lawns and extensive landscaping (on large lots) in arid California. Since they averaged massive water use over the past year, they get to keep using hoggish amounts of water, regardless of family size or appropriateness of landscaping, albeit subject to a 33% mandated reduction as is everyone.

We are a family of five with no front or back grass lawn, just olives and oaks and scraggly weeds and some badly stressed redwood trees, a very few garden plants and fruit trees.

For years I was frugal with water. My frugality is now rewarded by getting screwed by the California Water Board (CalWater acting at their behest): if I go over the measly 13 CCF allowance, I get hit with a big surcharge. My 5-person household gets no extra water vs a single person, or two retirees with no children and extensive landscaping. How equitable.

Here is proof of how frugality is self-destructive when dealing with government mandates and public utilities; we should have made sure to irrigate extensively last year so we weren’t on a survival ration. Our family of five used just 23% of the water of “similar homes”. And most homes in my neighborhood are larger with smaller familes, or no kids at all. Our water bill in June was $197. I wonder if my redwood and fruit trees will survive; it takes 4-5 CCF* per month to water them in the summer at a bare minimum. They got ~2 CCF.

I appealed my water ration, explaining the family of five thing (hey, three teenage girls ought to count for a LOT!). I even submitted photos of my barren front and back yards with cracks and dry ground. The answer: 2 more CCF (13 up from 11) in the winter.

As part of this irritating form letter showing how we get screwed on allocation, I got helpful tips on changing my watering schedule (near zero) and replacing grass with native plants (native for 23 years now). Bureaucracy at its finest.

* 1 CCF = 748 gallons

Water usage versus neighbors.
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