A Pet Peeve with Water Hogs
A pet peeve is not something my ill-mannered dog leaves on the kitchen floor. It is a grievance (such as the grievance my dog has with me for neglecting to let him outside to go pee). Some peoples’ attitude about water really kinks my garden hose. Allow me to elaborate.
I have lived in California all my life (please don’t hold that against me). When I was a child, they built Whiskeytown Lake just west of Redding, California. I remember my dad taking me out there to watch the heavy equipment moving all that dirt to make way for the lake. It was impressive to behold. That’s when I fell in love with Tonka Trucks. When the project was finished, President John Kennedy flew to our little town and dedicated Whiskeytown Lake. That was the last time I witnessed the construction of a lake. In fact, it was the last time I even heard of a lake under construction in California. I will be 58 years old this month. In other words, decades have passed since the glory days of water reclamation in California, at least from my humble perspective as a water addict.
California is now in a drought, and if we do not get a wet winter in 2014-15, it will be an epic drought. Here’s the thing: I recently adjusted my automatic sprinkler system to only water on Saturdays and Tuesdays, just as the City of Sacramento requested. But I forgot about Program B in my watering system, which means it continued to water every day. This resulted in my receiving a nasty letter from the City advising me of the consequences of wasting water. I wondered who of my smiling neighbors squealed on me. Fearing that the City’s water soldiers would submit me to waterboarding, I quickly fixed the problem. Soon thereafter, Cindy and I were having lunch with friends when the sensitive topic of H2O conservation came up. My friend said he would start conserving water when the City communicated with him that it was mandatory or when his neighbor emptied his swimming pool. I detected a tone of irritation in his declaration. I quickly realized that should the water police pick me up for questioning I would have to deny that I know the man. I would not want to be seen as collaborating with water wasters.
At a family gathering I heard someone blame farmers in the Sacramento Valley for using too much water. I think this is what psychiatrists call cognitive dissonance. Anyhow, these incidents heightened my awareness of water usage in my neighborhood. Yesterday I noticed a neighbor watering his lawn in a furtive manner in the middle of the day. Watering in the middle of the day is verboten in the City. For a moment I experienced a flash of resentment towards my neighbor for not following the rules. Cindy asked if we should turn him in. Sigh! So this is what the Bible refers to about neighbor turning against neighbor, children against their parents, I thought to myself.
Where am I going with this topic? Human nature can cause people to turn on each other when everyone does not play by the same rules, and rest assured EVERYONE will never play by the same rules. Ideally, we should not get angry with our neighbors for sneaking some extra water on their lawn, the lawn they labored hard to maintain for the sake of beauty and property value. Instead, we should direct our scorn towards political leaders who have not planned accordingly to deal with this problem. Their focus is off course. For instance, California political leaders are pushing that we spend billions of dollars on a high-speed rail system. High-speed rail sounds cool, European, sophisticated, and forward thinking. But compared to the State’s failure to keep pace with the water needs of millions of new people who have moved to California since I watched them build Whiskeytown Lake, their priorities are dangerously wrong.
Well, I need to go put some bricks in my toilet tank. It’s either that or stop flushing.