By, Shawn Spencer
There is a hot topic in town. A lot of people are having the same conversation and it’s all about water. The last four months have been the driest in Southern California’s history. We are no strangers to draughts. So, it should come as no surprise that this draught, which comes on the heels of the multi-year draught (that I didn’t realize had even ended), would cause our city, county and state leaders to encourage us to tighten our water belts.
And encourage us they did. The city offered various rebates and incentives on water saving devices for indoor and outdoor use: irrigation, showers, toilets, high efficiency washing machines and more. The city even offered rebates on replacing your typical water-chugging yard with artificial turf and native plants. Some residents saw the value in this. They were appreciative and took the city up on these great offers, knowing that they were doing their part to conserve not only water, but their money.
Others did not believe that the sky was really falling. Let’s face it. We can bring you televised city council meetings, but we can’t make you watch them. Our Mayor and Council, along with City Staff, discussed this topic ad nauseum. A conservation plan was broken down into phases.
Our existing guidelines are:
- I. Voluntary reduction @10%,
- II. Mandatory reduction @10%,
- III. Mandatory @20%,
- IV. Mandatory @30%,
- V. Mandatory @50% and,
- VI. Mandatory @60%.
The proposed thresholds are:
- I. Voluntary @10%,
- II. Mandatory @10%,
- III. Mandatory @20%,
- IV. Mandatory @28%,
- V. Mandatory @40% and,
- VI. Mandatory @50%.
The city website offers tips, incentives and rebates, all to get us to stop wasting the precious life-water. People tend to ignore you until you hit them in the wallet. Once their money is in question, they become extremely interested, as some of you can attest to once you saw your most recent water bill. I’m a renter and my rent has gone up twice, due to water rates. I’m ok with it; it’s understandable. I have four kids; three are girls. My kids get the draught, but not the severity or potential consequences. No one wants their flower or vegetable garden to die. And trust me, NO ONE wants attitudinal teenage girls crying about stubble.
Right now, the city is charging a penalty of up to two times the cost of a water billing unit for each billing unit (748 gallons of water), in excess of what is permitted. The standard penalty is $4.88 per unit of excess. First comes warnings, next comes more drastic measures. Next time, it won’t just be the City of Monrovia smacking us on the hand with a penalty. It is going to be our Water District penalizing us by giving us less water to dole out. You can get more info on draught preparedness and Newsom’s Executive Order at upperdistrict.org/draught.
If you don’t have a washing machine, do full loads only. Stretch your laundry. I know my kids used to throw everything in the hamper instead of putting it away. If you wash dishes by hand, like I do, fill a container with clean, soapy water. Wash, then rinse. Don’t just run the water.
Drink a lot of water; it will be far less traumatizing. Do you really need to wash your car? For $9, you can drive through the Chevron on Mountain/Huntington. They reuse the reclaimed water. Don’t hose down your driveway. Drips, running toilets: repair them! I use pasta water or other water used for cooking to water my plants. I also drink wine. You’re welcome. I fill the empty wine bottles up with water and then use a terra cotta cover which creates a slow drip into my plants. You can do this or recreate it with a water bottle.
Google is your friend! Find some creative ways to conserve water. We’re all in this together. The party’s over when we have to share bathwater.