The other day I went to visit my parents’ home to say hello and pick up some mail that fails to migrate with me to new residences.
As I parked and walked up to the door, I went across their lawn and first thought they’d started laying down straw before I realized it was grass, or used to be.
“Wow,” I said when I got inside. “You’re sure taking this water-restriction thing serious, aren’t you?”
My dad said, “What water restrictions?”
(He didn’t really.)
But, we did get into a discussion of the actual restrictions, which I, despite working at a newspaper, know almost nothing about. Water is restricted in certain places on certain days, but I can still gargle the complete soundtrack of “Singin’ in the Rain” in the shower without penalty, and I don’t have a lawn anyway, so I’m not sure what it accomplishes.
The discussion between my mom and dad trying to explain it to me was the equivalent of a Three Stooges routine, with less domestic violence involved.
“So we’re odd-numbered.”
“What does that mean.”
“That means we can water on Sundays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.”
“No, we can’t water on Sunday morning, only at night but we have to stop before midnight.”
“Because no one can water on Mondays.”
“Unless it’s runoff from washing your car and the grass soaks it up before it goes down the street.”
“Or you’re wearing a raincoat while you do it.”
(None of that is right.)
I know it really isn’t that hard. The day starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 a.m. the next day. Even number means your watering day starts Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday; odd means the day starts Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. Simple.
But it’s something arbitrary, and doesn’t tackle consumption, it tackles liberty. If you to change the demand for water, change the price.
Right now the rate goes down after the first 2,000 gallons, rather than up. Or up again at 10,000 and again at 50,000.
While I have incredible faith in human ingenuity to come up with an energy-efficient form of desalinization, I really don’t understand the point of trying to make private citizens restrict their water usage.
I don’t know what it’s like locally, but the National Atlas says that nationally, 52 percent of all surface fresh-water is used for thermoelectric purposes and 33 percent of all fresh water gets used for agriculture. Public use of all kinds is just 11 percent. Looking at the Colorado River Municipal Water District’s historical delivery numbers, Odessa’s use is about what it was 30 years ago. The CRMWD is just selling more to Midland, and more significantly, San Angelo.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t all let go of the dream of perennially green lawns; I’m not even saying water restrictions are philosophically a bad idea. But, watering lawns isn’t the problem any more than cutting the multimillion dollar “pork” from the federal budget solves the trillion dollar debt or multi-trillion dollar debt.
If you want to do that, you’ve got tackle the big problems of entitlement spending, military, and an electorate that expects increased services but hates higher taxes on everything but the price of cigarettes.
Really, if we want to solve a lot of problems in this country, and city, we should cut taxes on tobacco products and start shoving them into kids’ hands in the eighth grade.
There’s a good chance they’ll get hooked and die by 65, before Social Security or Medicare. And dead people rarely water their lawns, especially on Mondays.