Regular people are cutting back on watering their lawns and heeding those adorable water conservation commercials with an anthropomorphic State of California as our epic dry times rage, but many of the state officials who are preaching water use cutbacks are the biggest offenders, reports the Center for Investigative Reporting, which took a look at the water bills of all the officials who work for water agencies.Turns out, "nearly half of the officials who supervise the state's biggest water agencies used more water than the typical California household." But the absolute worst serial soaker is a Riverside City Councilmember Mike Soubirous, whose annual usage totaled more than one million freaking gallons of water last year. That's eight regular households' worth of water.
"Do I have to sell my house to set that example, or do I have to just abolish all my shrubs?" (Yes, that last one is a good start, actually.) "I don't know what to do. I don't know how I can reduce my water rate," complains Soubirous, whose one-acre property on a hilltop in Riverside has "cascades of flowering shrubs and a weeping willow tree." He was also reported to be watering his lawn seven nights a week last month, after voting in July to forbid Riverside residents from watering more than four times a week. Is this just a very clever way to promote water conservation? Is a state official going to call a press conference and walk hand-in-hand across the yard with Soubirous, pointing out all the missed opportunities for conservation and writing down multiple government websites where he could have found this information out on his own?
Unfortunately, it's probably not a guerrilla advertising campaign; actually, it's likely that this guy is going to keep flooding his lawn while legislating that others do something very different. CIR found that 60 percent of water officials used more water in 2013 (the driest year on record in California) than they had in 2012. One of them was Randy Record, chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, "which recently launched an advertising blitz to persuade 19 million people to save water" and which warned in May that if voluntary restrictions weren't enough to meet goals, the district could start rationing water. (They also produce the aforementioned cute water-saving commercials for their website about conservation.) Record used as much water in both 2012 and 2013 as about four families would need; this year, he says, he's cutting back by turning off sprinklers for a "big part of our lawn." And so only a mere 1,300 gallons a day flowed onto his property, just about double the SoCal average. That's progress!
· California water officials aren't following own call for conservation [CIR]
· What's Causing California's Worst Drought in Centuries? [Curbed LA]