|All tapped out|
For many residents The Letter (as I've taken to calling it) doesn't just dictate how much of your daily water usage absolutely must be curtailed, but it is also a demand that they change the way they live their lives. And have for most of their adult years. Not something you would normally expect to find in a letter from the Water Department.
So what I thought we'd do today is invite you, our fellow City of Sierra Madre water customer, to share the contents of your "Mandatory Water Conservation" notice with everyone here.
You can do this anonymously, of course. We here at The Tattler strongly support anonymous posting because what we actually want to know are your thoughts and ideas about whatever concerns we might happen to be discussing at the time. Or even those issues we're not talking about.
It is what truly matters here. We believe in putting your ideas above and beyond mere personalities. That plus it really upsets the critics of this blog, which is always an added enjoyment for me.
So in order to kick this thing off properly I thought that I should reveal to you what the City's letter dictated to the Crawford family. But first I need to share with you a little bit of annoying gardening information. I am a lousy gardener, and I feel about yard work pretty much the same way I feel about nausea. It is something I don't enjoy going through, though I will admit that I usually feel much better once it is over.
I have owned four homes in my life, and I have never once grown a decent lawn. I just look at the stuff and it dies. So a little less than a year ago my wife Lorrie and I made the bold decision to tear the treacherous green menace out of our front yard and replace it with something called California Native Plants. It was a new concept to me. Growing up in New Jersey I was never made aware of native New Jersey plants, but maybe that is because they are all weeds and nobody likes them. I think dandelions are native there. And skunk cabbage, which I enjoyed playing with as a child.
On the advice of friends we went to a place in Sun Valley called the Theodore Paine Society, which specializes in nothing but "natives." And a large percentage of these native California plants are drought resistant, which I soon discovered means they do not require very much water. Many of them are subtle looking things, and don't really jump right out at you in quite the same way a few trays of daffodils or geraniums might.
I decided that this must mean they are horticulturally sophisticated, and when I asked the people who work there about my impression they agreed. These folks showed us quite a lot of greenery, and patiently explained the virtues of each of these hardy plants. They are a little bit fanatical about this stuff actually, so I of course immediately liked them. Obscure causes lived out by idiosyncratic individuals for no apparent or truly meaningful purpose has always appealed to me. Life is an improvisation, whether you believe in God or not. Which I do. But you should go wild anyway.
We dropped a couple of hundred bucks on about 20 of these odd looking plants, drove them home in our windstorm battered Saturn Vue, and then quickly stuck them into the ground. Most lived. I am still amazed and delighted.
I've digressed radically. The upshot of all of this errata is we don't water anymore. At least we haven't in the last year, and probably won't ever again. These California native plants (and the weeds that look a lot like them, at least to me) continue to grow without the least bit of care from me. And while our front yard does look a little bit otherworldly, for the first time in my life I am proud of my gardening. These are my kind of plants.
So what are our "mandatory water conservation" numbers? They're apparently very low. Since we've stopped pouring tap water out onto our uncooperative yard, usage of the stuff has gone way down. And since we did all this around 10 months ago, the timing couldn't have been better for us as far as the city's shenanigans go.
Here is how it was put to us in our version of "The Letter" - Your base year average bi-monthly consumption is 14. This results in your conservation target of 13. For comparison purposes only, your bi-monthly consumption according to the most recent billing was 11.
The less money I send to this City, the better I feel. Have I ever told you what City Hall would be without our money? Just another small group of people with opinions. That is my goal.
So I have now confessed all. What are your numbers, and how do you think you got there?