but they said to cut down on watering…

I read this in the weekend paper and had to share: It looks like the population of San Diego County is doing so well in cutting down our water use that the water districts that supply us are suddenly feeling the financial pinch. Here’s a snippet from the San Diego Union-Tribune article:

“We don’t need to keep telling (customers) to do a better job,” said Bill Rucker, general manager for the Vallecitos Water District in San Marcos.

His agency’s sales fell 20 percent in the April-to-July period compared with the same period in 2008. To make up for the downturn, the district will leave some positions vacant and roll back conservation education.

During a meeting of the region’s top water managers in late August, “everyone was concerned about the lost revenues,” said Dennis Lamb of the Vallecitos district.

He said the decision-makers expressed support for allowing residents to continue watering their lawns and other landscaping a maximum of three days a week during the winter and spring, even though current regulations call for irrigation only once a week from November through May.

After reading reactions from the authorities I’m left wondering: Should it really be the water districts that are at the public forefront of water conservation? On one hand they’re telling us to do the right thing. But at the same time it’s in their financial interest if we don’t. Conflict of interest, anyone?

8 thoughts on “but they said to cut down on watering…”

  1. A similar thing happened in my part of Northern California. First, of the two large water agencies, one rationed in 2008 and stopped rationing in 2009 and the other was fine in ’08 but is rationing this year. This is partly because they use different sources for their water supply but also because the first agency also started having a revenue shortfall.

    While the MBA in my understand the issues of supply and demand, the conservationist in me doesn’t. There’s either a problem, or there isn’t. I think the inconsistency is one of the reasons so many Californians don’t feel the need to embrace a lifestyle change – drought is just a temporary situation to get through.

  2. Oh, that really is stupid.

    Well, often you just can’t think about these things too much. There are many things I do to conserve for which I don’t get any rebates or other benefits.

    It’s more of a lifestyle issue. I have to laugh that people are discovering clotheslines and riding bikes for errands. I’ve done it for the last 30 years ;->

  3. It is great that SD Co. had a 20% decline in water sales during that time period. It is important to remember that it was cooler and wetter last spring than usual. This probably accounts for some of the 20% as people weren’t seeing scorched lawns. Still, it is a good number and the efforts should continue – of course.

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