From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
August 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mandocino, North California
The word was out. It would be better to not have a green lawn.
Thirsty home landscaping, particularly lawns, will suck up an increasingly burdensome amount of water in California over the next 25 years unless big changes are made, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California. “Do the math,” said study co-author Ellen Hanak, Landscaping currently accounts for at least half of all residential water demand, according to the report.
Even at the state level, Victoria Whitney, a deputy director of the state Water Resources Control Board, justified the staff proposal to ban irrigating commercial turf, a statewide issue that the water board has had on its radar as a way to save water. “A third of urban water use is irrigation,” Whitney said. “Given the issues that they face, it seemed now was the time to point out to folks this is an easy fix.”
So this drought is the real deal and the City of Ukiah orders mandatory water rationing.
As I was driving around looking at ways to redesign my own grassy yard and saw all the many civic minded people not watering, redoing the landscaping if there was enough money, I thought: “Good Citizens”. Refreshing, so to speak.
But maybe not to Ukiah residents who did their good deed and now face an increase in water bill rates, because they stopped using so much water causing a 35% drop in water use revenue. Just like they were advised to do by the City of Ukiah. It surely seems ironic or maybe even daft to punish the people doing the right thing. I hope to soon read in the Ukiah Daily Journal or Anderson Valley Advertiser that “We wouldn’t think of raising the rates for water use, at least for people that have cut their water use.”
It would make a lot more sense for Ukiah and the County to arrange low cost loans for those wishing to landscape with native plants, providing jobs and real revenue.