California

Water Your Lawn, Pay $500; Don't Water Your Lawn, Pay $500

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wiccked foter

Californians are in quite a pickle over the drought that's been making the golden state a crispy brown since late last year. And now, different levels of government are guaranteeing to make the crisis even more difficult.

On Tuesday the California Water Resources Control Board announced that beginning August 1 they would begin fining individuals $500 a day for washing cars, hosing sidewalks, or watering lawns.

Also on Tuesday the city of Glendora, California sent a warning to Laura Whitney and Michael Korte: Water your lawn or pay $500.

The Associated Press (AP) explains that the city isn't pleased to see the couple's grass is dead, but it's dead "because of their conservation, which, besides a twice-a-week lawn watering regimen, includes shorter showers and larger loads of laundry." From the report:

"Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green," says the letter, which gives Korte and Whitney 60 days to restore their lawn. …

Local officials say conserving water and maintaining healthy landscaping are not mutually exclusive goals. They caution that even in times of water shortages, residents shouldn't have free rein to drive down property values, and they can use drought-resistant landscaping or turf removal programs to meet local standards.

San Jose Mercury

However, the AP also notes that at least in one case, an Orange County resident "spent more than $600 on the changes as [a local] agency mandated she water and maintain her yard in 'a healthy green condition.'" 

This isn't the first time California's regulations have threatened to make the drought worse. As Reason's Scott Shackford pointed out earlier this year, the push to ban plastic bags (so far unsuccessful statewide, but in effect in plenty of cities) means that people have to buy reusable bags, which they then have to wash, which defeats the push to save water. 

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  1. Yeah, everyone hates Michigan till they run out of water. Then all those Great Lakes seem mighty inviting.

    It ain’t gonna come down to oil – it’s gonna come down to potable water. And Michigan will be Ground Zero.

    OK – everyone have a cheery afternoon! Also, fuck California.

    1. Here let me just take care of this for you:

      can’t tell if srs

    2. Everyone hates Michigan even after they run out of water. There are other ways to access the great lakes. Even though most of them suck as much as Michigan.

  2. “Despite the water conservation efforts, we wish to remind you that limited watering is still required to keep landscaping looking healthy and green,” says the letter, which gives Korte and Whitney 60 days to restore their lawn.

    Emphasis added. *Or* limited spray painting.

    1. It’s astroturf for everyone!

      I never thought of that till I saw it on one of those home-improvement shows.

      And I thought, if I lived in Pahrump, NV like my uncle, I’d fucking have astroturf for a front “yard”.

      Brilliant, semi-permanent, effective. Love it.

  3. Person in California chooses a water intensive yard, knowing that situations like this can come up and you want to blame the city or state?

    Seems to be we should be blaming the individual for making a poor choice what they are growing in their yard.

    1. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I fully intend to continue washing my cars and watering my lawn.

      1. Remind me to put in a waterfall.

        1. And a coy pond.

          1. Not to nit-pick, but I think you meant Koi, not Coy. Way different meanings.

      2. Does this apply to car wash businesses as well, or just at home?

        1. I don’t know for sure, but I do know car washes in CA have to capture, filter and recycle some large percentage of the water they use. My guess is they’d be exempt.

    2. HOA. The last vestige of communism in the Western Hemisphere outside of the Harvard faculty, Cuba and the PA liquor system.

    3. Many many cities and HOA have strict prohibitions on anything but lawns. No gardens, whether flower or food. No desert plants. It’s police powers gone bonkers.

      Ya know what really bothers me about the idea that non-lawns lower property values? It’s that if I were to soup up my house, my neighbors won’t pay me for the increased property values, nor can I sue them for not sprucing up their property to my standards to help raise property values. It’s heads you win, tails I lose.

    4. Person in California owns the yard, city or state doesn’t. Yes, you can blame the city or state for this fuckwittery.

      1. So you’re not for the individual accepting the consequences for their decision.

        They chose to love in Cali, they chose to have that yard or live in a place that requires that type of yard and anyone with any sense of history has seen that Cali suffers from droughts and fines have been imposed in the past.

        So it seems you’re passing the buck for blame onto the entities that least deserve it.

  4. Make one local official part of your landscaping, by putting his head on a spike.

    See if anyone else wants to bitch about the lawn.

    1. “All right – we’ll call it a draw.”

  5. Can’t it just fall in the ocean already?

  6. I’d be more sympathetic if the government either allowed or built some additional storage capacity in the last 20 years or so as the population has grown.

    1. That is what the Water Board was supposed to be doing.

      1. Can’t remember the credit, but it involved some well-known failure:
        The guy made the comment that ‘Its’ not that we fell into failure, it’s as if we planned for it!’
        There’s no surprise that the CA rains are highly variable, as anyone who was here in the late ’70s could tell you. But we’d much rather build a goddam choo choo than some frivolous endeavor like a reservoir.

    2. Or pushing for nuclear power and water desalination. Seems like that’d be the best bet.

  7. Solution: Just don’t wash your reuseable bags. That way, you save water, then die from salmonella poisoning from eating an apple you carried home in the same bag that held the chicken you bought last week, and you no longer need to use any more precious water because you’re fucking dead.

    1. Death is a perfectly valid life choice that thousands of Americans make every years. Check your life privelege, you vitalist bastard!

      1. So, since there’s nothing more to say about this ridiculous subject: Living Story Season 2. Good? Bad?

        It seems like a hell of an improvement on all fronts so far. Even if the shock moment in the last bit had been obvious since the end of last season.

    2. I know I leave unwrapped chicken in reusable bags all the time. When the revolution comes and y’all are dying from dysentery and whatnot my immune system will be kicking ass.

  8. Somewhat similar in that a guy in my town let his lawn grow to it’s ‘natural state’ as an artistic expression. The village tried to get him to mow it and ended up taking him to court. The judge ruled against the village in that it was his First Amendment right to express himself through his lawn.

    He now has another piece of property at one of the major intersections in the village populated with old toilets filled with flowers. From time to time one of the local nannies writes a letter to the editor decrying the ugly toilets demanding the village do something about it. I smile every time I drive by them.

  9. Stop levying fines and start charging higher rates for water based on availability.

    Of course, that wouldn’t be any fun for the petty tyrants.

    1. Yep, true market prices encourage efficiency on the consumption side, *and* encourages new supply.

      And to preempt “What about the poor?” questions: you can fix that by giving them a reimbursable credit for the first few liters, if need be.

      1. Or just make the first X gallons available at a reduced price.

  10. Free market water, but CA aint gonna go for that.

    1. Considering how badly they managed to fuck up when making electricity into a “free market”, maybe that’s for the better.

  11. Why anyone would live in this state is beyond me.

    1. Supposedly it’s the weather. They want lots of water, but not if it falls out of the sky…

  12. It is sad. As a Californian, I try my best to save water but then I go outside and see ignorant people opening taps to the max and watering their lawns. The city is stupid in its shallowness to retain property values. And then the state charges homeowners for “wasting” water. Sometimes I wish that California goes apocalyptic so that everyone will realize how stupid they are. I will then go to move to Hawaii and flip off California and say “I told you so”.

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