pissing on water customers

Gary Tutin org

Seriously. Forget about it.

California has an awful lot of awful water policies, as do most states that precipitate problems. Since there are populated deserts with agriculture, it is a serious situation that the government treat frivolously. Droughts are inevitable, even without the complications of claiming to save supposedly endangered fish and insects, under state and federal mandates.

Those without cisterns are supplied by a public utility. While Californians try to conserve, usually successfully, inevitable water price increases follow because utilities demand at least the same amount of money, for less. Remember, it is not that their customers want to use less, they are bowing to pleas from the government and the company.

In Pacifica, the situation is worse than in other towns, as for most utilities. The provider is promoting a 20% “voluntary” water reduction goal. Who volunteered? No one asked me. Suggested solutions include taking shorter showers. No one admits to taking a bath anymore as result of previous water-saving vices.

Another tip: Instead of a hose, use a broom to clean sidewalks, driveways and pavement. That won’t wash squat. Maybe you should wash your car with those moiste wipes used to clean baby’s bottom. Oh, and have your dog lick your dishes to clean them. No dog? Too bad. By the way, could they have come up with a more disgusting image?


Consider consumer cost. The North Coast County Water District charges a fee for water used, another for metering it. Confusing? No, it’s simple. You pay a monthly charge for having a meter, regardless of usage. In May, 2014, we proudly lowered our two-month water usage to $10.88. Sounds great, right? Only there is still that pesky “supply and distribution” charge of $26.76. Doesn’t sound so great after all. Even if we used paper plates, plastic utensils and cups exclusively, throwing them out after each usage, did our laundry and took showers elsewhere, flushed the toilet once a week, drank and cooked with bottled water, even if we were out of town for a few weeks, we would still have to pay the $26.76. Outrageous, yet customary in the world of unaccountable public utilities.

If, for some reason, you weren’t using your cellphone for a few weeks, say you were in jail, the company would let you suspend service at no charge. Many plans save you money when you use your phone less because they face competition. If they treat you like dirt, you can switch to another provider.

After missing a payment, I was charged NCCWD's late fee for being one day late: 56%. Even the most onerous credit card companies do not impose that kind of burden. Basically, if you are short on money, the water company help out by making you pay a giant penalty. While they are turning it into one, running water is not supposed to be a luxury.

water buoy

Given these factors, I say, use all the damned water you want. Your family’s conservation efforts won’t ameliorate the drought any more than your single vote will sway the next local election. So don't let them intimidate you.

Your bill won’t be noticeably lower, so you may as well relax.
Use water generously.
Spray it around to your heart’s content.
You may not be saving water, you will be getting your money’s worth.

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some of my ESSAYS

29 JUNE 2014
©2014 gary tutin