Wednesday, October 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Some people have missed the drought memo

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By
From page A11 | July 30, 2014 |

California is in the midst of the third-most severe drought on record, though apparently many in Fairfield have missed the memo, if the not-uncommon sight of sprinkler water cascading down sidewalks and into the streets is any evidence. And, indeed, water usage throughout the state has increased by 1 percent compared with consumption over each of the past three years.

Because of this, on July 15, the State Water Resources Control Board announced new regulations aimed at increasing water conservation in urban settings; these regulations bring the possibility of $500-per-day fines for, among other things, the “watering of outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff.” These regulations, which go into effect Aug. 1, will be inert in the absence of enforcement, which is partially the purview of local water providers, such as Fairfield’s Public Works Water Division.

As yet, the Water Division website (www.fairfield.ca.gov/gov/depts/pw/utility/water/default.asp) has no information on how to report local water wasters, though a website for reporting offending state entities is online at http://saveourh2o.org/node/447.

Anecdotally, water waste is legion throughout town. To give but two examples, the sidewalks outside the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce are regularly doused with water that runs into the street and pools against the curb (https://vine.co/v/M2rEMFjKOFa), and the parking lot of the Fairfield Civic Center Library flaunts a genuine stream running through it at night, fed as it is by dozens of wayward sprinklers. Doubtless, neither the chamber nor the library are malign in their wastefulness, but there is simply no excuse for it given the historic proportions of this extensively documented drought.

I urge the city to set up convenient means of reporting water waste – both by phone and online – that will help combat this ruinous drought, not by financial reprisal, which should be a last resort, but by making it easy to share information that will curtail profligate water use.

Shawn Miller

Fairfield

Letter to the Editor

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Discussion | 17 comments

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  • CD BrooksJuly 30, 2014 - 5:43 am

    Shawn Miller, I urge PD to cite traffic offenses that by far outnumber water wasters. AND frankly, are much more serious. Yeah, that aint gonna happen either.

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  • Rick WoodJuly 30, 2014 - 6:54 am

    What Shawn cites are cases of water waste that should be corrected. It's also true that California is suffering from a drought and a growing water deficiency. But those aren't the same thing. Not all of California is suffering a water deficiency despite the drought. Fairfield and most of Solano County are in that fortunate group. It's because of good location, good planning, and good fortune. So while we have no water to waste, we have plenty to use. Let's work to keep it that way, but let's not overreact.

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  • Esteban KarfunkelsteinJuly 30, 2014 - 7:37 am

    Exactly. I keep reading how this is the worst drought in Calif. history, but I also recall the drought of, I believe, the end of the 80s early 90s, where the town of, Monticello was actually beginning to appear again, roof tops and such. People actually going up there to take pictures. We were being told that it would take many years for the lake (Lake Berryessa) to refill, but after a very wet rainy winter, before you knew it, the, Glory Hole, " was again overflowing. Our water planners did an excellent job preparing our resources, and even though it is important to cut back & save, no sense going crazy yet. The State Water resource Board should have just gone after those areas of obvious waste, and also Southern Calif, where their usage actually increased 8%, while my personal outdoor watering amount was cut back around 25% from previous years.Now if it doesn't rain this winter, I will cut back even more, but till then the State board can, KISS THIS, especially while Governor Moonbeam Brown, still wants to have those two water tunnels built, shipping more of our Northern Calif. water down to those water wasters!!!!!! He must be in their back pockets.

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  • Esteban KarfunkelsteinJuly 30, 2014 - 7:45 am

    P.S. But of course there are those neighbors who are chomping at the bit, who can't wait to turn into the neighborhood rat fink busy bodies. They would have been excellent during the cause of the old Soviet Union and Germany's Third Reich, just for seeing a trickle run over the neighbors sidewalks. Try using any sort of water sprinkler from a hose end ones, to those sprinkler system types with the back & forth arm slapping action, that are generally placed in the corners of the lawn, up against the pavement, making it near 100% impossible not to get pavement run off.

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  • Karl FunkystubenJuly 30, 2014 - 8:20 am

    Yes, I agree with that guy above.... Thanks for clarifying my thoughts on this subject.

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  • Walt SchlitzliqorJuly 30, 2014 - 9:03 am

    I believe in conserving water by drinking higher alcohol content beer ( you do not have to drink as many )....

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  • Rick WoodJuly 30, 2014 - 8:35 am

    Well, actually there were no rooftops; the entire town of Monticello was razed before the lake filled. But there was a concrete bridge on the old highway outside of and above the town that became exposed. That's what people went to see. The one thing that wasn't razed in the town was a stone arch bridge over Putah Creek. It was quite a marvel.

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  • Matt RubberbathJuly 30, 2014 - 9:19 am

    Well, actually I take shorter showers.....

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  • Elizabeth Bareit BrowningJuly 30, 2014 - 9:44 am

    How do I conserve water? Let me tell you the way.... I feel conserving water is more important than my lawn..... I just resign myself to the "browning".....

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  • Pam Pasque-Azole'July 30, 2014 - 10:08 am

    I just Kant like people named Rick....."Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made." ( It's just a joke....ole' w/you?

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  • Kantickles DivineJuly 30, 2014 - 12:07 pm

    When I treat a man contemptuously, I can inspire him with no practical desire to appreciate my grounds of truth. When I treat any one as worthless, I can inspire him with no desire to do right. .......Only the descent into the hell of self-knowledge can pave the way to godliness. I decided to be mad at you, cause you know full well, fully too well, that it was not me that posted those links, you are using your tactics again..... So I ask you, what is the long term ( eternal even ) gain of using evil tactics.... of being evil? Actually it is you that can still SAVE YOURSELF.... not me I am "saved" already.

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  • President/CEO, Debi Tavey - Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of CommerceJuly 30, 2014 - 10:26 am

    Shawn, thank you for your concerns regarding the water consumption in California. The Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce is very aware of the water crisis in California and like many others has reduced their water consumption. Unfortunately, due to recent vandalism on our sprinkler heads, the sprinklers are now running in the early evening. We have also reduced our watering procedures at half of the rate versus the previous year; which explains the brown patches in the lawn. I can assure you we will continue to monitor our water usage and educate the business community on new water regulations as they occur.

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  • JagJuly 30, 2014 - 10:07 am

    Well by my count at this point Shawn it is 7-1 against, You and your little tattle tale system loses.

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  • No real changes coming....July 30, 2014 - 2:54 pm

    I believe Kelvin Wade had a column about this a couple weeks ago. Someone said people are going to alter their ways and not conserve so much--such as watering earlier or later at night, washing cars earlier in the morning and so on. Most of my neighbors didn't even know they could be fined as of August 1st, but at the same time said they weren't going to change their habits. Guess it's time to fill the pool before Friday.....

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  • No real changes coming....July 30, 2014 - 2:57 pm

    Ooops, should have said ..people are not going to alter...

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  • MarkJuly 30, 2014 - 4:25 pm

    With agriculture and industry using using over 80% of the water, statewide, in California and homes using around 15%, asking people to save water at home isn't going to make a dent in the water usage. (the exact percentages vary by where you are in the state, SoCal homes use ~50% of the water) If statewide the people cut their home water usage by 10%, that's just a drop in the bucket (10% of 15%=1.5% curtailment), compared to asking the big water users to make a similar cut of 10%. Would it hurt a crop to water it for 54 minutes instead 60 minutes (a 10% cut)? If the state is really serious about curtailing water usage, they're not going to find it by just having people save water at home.

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  • Rick WoodJuly 30, 2014 - 5:09 pm

    Mark: Say 80% of the "developed" water, and you'd be about right. Something like 40% of the water is left alone, either inaccessible or for the environment. And the numbers for irrigated agriculture change from year to year and over time. I believe the 80% figure is dated. It may be closer to 70% now.

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