The Water Police have arrived!
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Thread: The Water Police have arrived!

  1. #1
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    The Water Police have arrived!

    Now I've seen it all. I'm just wondering what exactly the punishment is for repeat offenders? Jail time? Will a black market for water develop?


    The Associated Press: LA water cops hunt wasteful faucets, sprinklers

    LOS ANGELES (AP) The green thumbs who keep lawns lush and flora flourishing in the city have found a new foe among the aphids, white flies and other yard pests the water police.

    Just as some scofflaws keep an eye out for black-and-white patrol cars, gardeners have learned to spot the white Toyota Priuses driven by Los Angeles water cops out to fight waste as California struggles with an extended drought.

    "They get to scattering when they see us," said Department of Water and Power officer Alonzo Ballengar. "I don't know what they call me, but I'm sure they have names."

    Fifteen officers now prowl neighborhoods and respond to thousands of tips in their search for those who use sprinklers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., clean driveways with water instead of a broom or otherwise waste the precious commodity.

    Officials estimate that landscaping accounts for as much as 70 percent of household water bills.

    Offenders can be cited with a warning or hit with fines that start at $100 for homeowners and automatically appear on water bills.

    The tough tactics began this summer after a voluntary conservation program yielded only a 4 percent drop in water use. Restrictions were expanded and penalties stiffened with the aim of seeing a 10 percent reduction.

    Thus far, 763 citations have been issued.

    The threat of a water shortage is deadly serious in this sprawling, thirsty city that owes its existence to the vast quantities of water piped in from the Colorado River and other sources.

    In June, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought in response to two years of below-average rainfall, low snow-melt runoff, shrinking reservoir levels and court-ordered water restrictions to protect diminishing fish populations.

    But getting the conservation message to sink in has been a challenge in the city where expansive lawns and tropical gardens have long been status symbols.

    City officials first unveiled the "drought busters" patrol in the early 1990s. Their blue T-shirts and patches with images of crossed-out drippy faucets were reminiscent of the "Ghost Busters" movie logo.

    Now, to be taken more seriously, the unit has been outfitted with gray uniforms and renamed the water conservation team. There are similar programs in some other U.S. cities.

    "They're in fact educators and ambassadors to the public," said H. David Nahai, who renamed the team and oversees the agency. "They deserve to have a title that is reflective of the gravity of the situation."

    Officials also learned blue was not the best color to wear in some neighborhoods.

    "It's unfortunate but in Los Angeles red and blue are associated with gangs," said Nance Walker-Bonnelli, who oversees the team. "One team member just wouldn't wear his shirt if he went into certain areas of the city."

    Ballengar, a patient man with an easy laugh, has endured his fair share of name-calling from customers who have yet to embrace him as a water ambassador. On loan from another department, he just shrugs it off.

    "I have thick skin," he said. "My regular job is bill collections."

    On more than one occasion, Ballengar has heard from gardeners that it's their employers who insist on watering during the day to maintain their yards and gardens.

    "They want their yard taken care of a certain way," he said.

    He has also run across some surprising situations.

    One resident tattled on four of his neighbors in regular order every week. A group of dedicated conservationists anointed themselves citizen busters and patrol their own neighborhoods, calling in everything from broken sprinklers to mysterious puddles of water.

    The most curious case, however, came from the San Fernando Valley, where an elderly shut-in was apparently draining and refilling her pool every three days, wasting thousands of gallons of water a week.

    "As soon as we opened up our mailbox everyone on her street reported her," Walker-Bonnelli said. "We left that one in the hands of health and safety."

    Not even the governor, who has urged Californians to save water, is safe from scrutiny. On a recent afternoon Ballengar drove past split rail fences and horse barns into the gates of the upscale community where Schwarzenegger lives in the Brentwood area.

    Ballengar stopped for a moment in front of the governor's mansion, peering through the iron gate searching for any evidence of water waste in the governor's garden.

    "Nothing," he said before driving on.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

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  3. #2
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    Actually, Tatt, you are not far off from the truth.....

    Clean, potable water will ultimately be a reason for war all over the world, as it already is in some parts of Africa. The one thing that no one seems to address is the fact that we just have too many people on the planet for even the most crazy environmentalists to develop "sustainable" lifestyles. I am guessing the next pandemic or widespread conflict will probably rectify this to some degree.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomboy007 View Post
    Clean, potable water will ultimately be a reason for war all over the world, as it already is in some parts of Africa. The one thing that no one seems to address is the fact that we just have too many people on the planet for even the most crazy environmentalists to develop "sustainable" lifestyles. I am guessing the next pandemic or widespread conflict will probably rectify this to some degree.
    Still all of this seems just silly. If the police can go after people who are running their sprinklers excessively, what next? Have a police officer stationed at every home to make sure that nobody's showers last more than ten minutes? Arrest people who use too much water to wash their dishes? Hand out fines to people who use too much water to do their laundry? Where does it end?
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    Benjamin Franklin

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    Still all of this seems just silly. If the police can go after people who are running their sprinklers excessively, what next? Have a police officer stationed at every home to make sure that nobody's showers last more than ten minutes? Arrest people who use too much water to wash their dishes? Hand out fines to people who use too much water to do their laundry? Where does it end?
    yeah it really does seem a bit extreme. maybe they'll start banning drinking fountains.
    You can have my freedom as soon as I'm done with it!!!

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow View Post
    yeah it really does seem a bit extreme. maybe they'll start banning drinking fountains.
    Shhhhhh! Don't give them any ideas!
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarecrow View Post
    yeah it really does seem a bit extreme. maybe they'll start banning drinking fountains.
    Extreme? Yup, it probably is. But, to me, it sounds very funny to hear call water conservation extreme, only because after living in Southern California for more than 50 years I was so very used to it. I guess we can get used to just about anything. Have you seen the water level of the Colorado River lakes? This picture shows well the level at Hoover Dam. Maybe that's why they yell. So, what's "normal" for some is "extreme" for others.

    Now, extreme to me, after first moving to Nevada, was seeing people walk around with hand guns strapped to their bodies. Yet, now I cc. Go figure!
    Last edited by gdcleanfun; 01-08-2009 at 11:21 AM.

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    Of course we've had a water problem for years (decades?) and it hasn't stopped government from encouraging massive growth in housing and commercial buildings. We have a similar problem pending with electricity (increased by Kalifornia government meddling) but no limitations on building growth. The problem obviously isn't so much nature as it is government.
    Maybejim

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  9. #8
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    Maybejim is right about the government being the cause of this. Let the market dictate this. When the prices people pay for water service get extremely high, it'll give others less of an incentive to move there, and cause many who are already there to move to places where it is cheaper and more plentiful. Problem solved.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by tattedupboy View Post
    Still all of this seems just silly. If the police can go after people who are running their sprinklers excessively, what next? Have a police officer stationed at every home to make sure that nobody's showers last more than ten minutes? Arrest people who use too much water to wash their dishes? Hand out fines to people who use too much water to do their laundry? Where does it end?
    It all sort of depends on who actually has ownership over the water. The state of Florida owns my driver's license and license plate - some people are surprised when theirs gets pulled for a violation. Come to find out, they don't own it. So, does the customer or does the state of California own that water? If the state owns it, then they can restrict it quite a bit, up to the point of actually infringing on people's personal use (drinking, showering, etc).

    As far as lawn watering goes, it's totally unnecessary, even if you care what the yard looks like. Xeriscaping is a term used for landscaping that requires no irrigation. It works well, and it's extremely low-maintenance and inexpensive to do.
    Silent Running, by Mike and the Mechanics

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    Quote Originally Posted by toreskha View Post
    It all sort of depends on who actually has ownership over the water. The state of Florida owns my driver's license and license plate - some people are surprised when theirs gets pulled for a violation. Come to find out, they don't own it. So, does the customer or does the state of California own that water? If the state owns it, then they can restrict it quite a bit, up to the point of actually infringing on people's personal use (drinking, showering, etc).

    As far as lawn watering goes, it's totally unnecessary, even if you care what the yard looks like. Xeriscaping is a term used for landscaping that requires no irrigation. It works well, and it's extremely low-maintenance and inexpensive to do.
    As long as the people using the water are paying for it, then leave them alone. If they're stealing it or otherwise not paying for what they're using it, then go after them.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    Benjamin Franklin

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