You may have caught this article in today’s U-T regarding area water districts’ dilemma over the fact that San Diegans have taken their water conservation campaigns to heart. In some districts water usage is down 20 percent or more over the same period last year, causing water district revenues to fall accordingly. As such, many district managers say their boards may have to consider rate increases as a way to make up the lost revenue brought on by the very conservation efforts they mandated we make!
I barely know where to begin with this one. We’re in a drought condition that seems brought on in large measure by poor decision-making – the Delta smelt ruling, opposition to desalination, etc. – and as such we’re told to dramatically cut back on less critical water uses such as keeping our lawns green and washing our cars in the driveway. Oh, and we should limit ourselves to five-minute showers too. Fine, we all need to do our part. However, if we disobey these mandates we face higher rates and possibly even fines for over usage. OK. So the majority of us do as we should and cut back our water usage. By all accounts, the campaign to conserve water has been wildly successful.
Now we’re told that we’ve been too diligent about saving water and may well be looking at higher water rates as a result! Coupled with reports that the board of the Metropolitan Water District is voting this week to increase pension benefits for its 2,000 employees by 25 percent, and the politics of water are quickly spiraling from merely troubling to outright ridiculous. Has common sense completely left the building?