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


Water rationing starts to go wrong

elias column sig

By
From page A8 | June 14, 2014 |

As expected, it’s now late spring and water rationing is upon California. Despite the heavy mid-February rains that briefly drenched Northern California and the respectable ensuing snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, drought remains.

It may seem odd, but the opening compulsory rationing measures have come in Northern California, closer to the big rivers now carrying lower-than-usual runoff from the high mountains than the big cities to the south, where water conservation is voluntary, so far.

Reasons for this include the fact that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California draws supplies from the Colorado River in addition to the Bay Delta region through which most of Northern California’s water flows. The Met has also spent many millions of dollars over the past 20 years to increase its storage capacity, creating new reservoirs and upping underground storage.

So some of the first serious compulsory rationing comes in places on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area, cities like Pleasanton and Dublin and Santa Cruz, which get much of their water from local supplies or the state Water Project, but don’t have access to the water San Francisco draws from its Hetch Hetchy reservoir near Yosemite National Park.

Rationing is sensible in some places – like Santa Cruz, where all homes are now limited to 1,000 cubic feet of water per month, or about 249 gallons per day. Local officials say the limits are needed because the area’s streams have all but dried up long before their wet season would normally end.

But in other places, like Pleasanton, a city of 70,000 on the eastern edge of the East Bay area, residents and businesses are compelled to use no more than 75 percent of the water they used at the same time last year. The more you used in 2013, the more you can use today without paying penalties, which can see water bills double or triple upon a first offense and rise on subsequent violations.

So the water profligates of a year ago have an advantage over anyone who conserved water in 2013, when there was already drought, just not as severe. In short, if neighbors each had lawns of the same size and one watered freely last year, with no regard for conservation, but the other installed a drip irrigation system and cut water use substantially, the one who conserved now can use far less than his profligate neighbor. How fair is that?

Inequitable situations like this were common in the major drought of the 1970s, when homeowners or businesses who saw drought worsening and realized rationing would ensue sometimes increased their water use to make sure they would have a good supply once rationing took hold. No one can prove anybody did that this year, but it’s very possible and it’s a major flaw where cities ration according to past use.

Other water use inequities abound, too. How fair is it that drought or no drought, Sacramento residents (including tens of thousands of state officials and bureaucrats) use an average of 279 gallons per day, compared with 98 gallons for San Franciscans and less than 150 gallons per day for Los Angeles residents, whom Northern Californians habitually accuse of profligacy? Or for residents of ritzy Hillsborough on the San Francisco Peninsula to use 334 gallons of water daily, on average, to just 79 for those in far less fortunate East Palo Alto?

Plus, while there’s a water metering program in progress in the Central Valley, about half the homes there still no have water meters at all, so owners or tenants can use all they want with no penalties.

As Southern Californians watch this and realize that given another year of drought, they will also be rationed, plenty will realize that the more they use now, the more they’ll be able to use later – unless water rationing is done on a strict per-capita basis. Yes, it can sometimes be difficult to know how many people reside in each household, but Census data can help – taken in 2010, it’s still useful. Any household feeling short-changed could complain and prove it has more occupants than the Census showed.

That’s not a perfect system, but if adopted statewide, would at least be more fair than the patchwork of systems gradually being imposed now, with rationing just beginning and already starting to lean toward the unfair.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Middle school students put school candidates on the hot seat

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano focuses on rail safety

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
Booz and Brewz benefit for the Blue Star Moms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Blessing of the animals slated Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Salvation Army gears up for annual Red Kettle campaign

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Theaters primed for bevy of new movies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

Third Annual Ride to Defeat Diabetes is Sunday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
4-H Achievement Night honors county members

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A10

 
FBI announces reward for Vacaville bank robber

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A10

 
American Legion seeks Korean War veterans for award

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Forest areas reopen after huge fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hong Kong leader refuses to meet with protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Secret Service chief on hot seat for WH breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Afghan pact signed amid questions on Iraq pullout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Luck, instinct determined fates of volcano hikers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Government confirms first case of Ebola in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Mayor of suburban Los Angeles city killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Crash, suspicious device lead to 101 closure in LA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Gov. Brown governor vetoes ethics bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 6 Comments

 
Police on manhunt find pipe bombs in woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Oklahoma man charged with murder in beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

Bay Area looks to expand overnight transit options

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 14 Comments

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
The flavor of fall – pumpkin pie in a cinnamon bun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

One simple slicing trick to bake a beautiful tart

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Morgan: ‘Can’t believe’ Walmart blaming him

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Royals beat A’s 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Rodriguez volleyball team downs Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Pirates’ Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders make Tony Sparano interim coach after firing Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL says Abdullah should not have been penalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL has laundry list of verboten celebrations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Government: NFL TV ‘blackout’ rule unsportsmanlike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Olympian Michael Phelps apologizes for DUI arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gravely injured Giants fan sues Dodgers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Ex 49ers RB James agrees to terms with Dolphins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FCC will consider petition to ban ‘Redskins’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Training camp essential for NBA’s new head coaches like Warriors’ Kerr

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

No. 14 Stanford trying to jolt stagnant offense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NC State coach apologizes for fake injury remarks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers’ Wilhoite filling the injury void at linebacker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

EU says Apple gets illegal tax benefits in Ireland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Could a merger follow the PayPal-eBay split?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

David Earl Butenhoff-Forristall

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Marte Abad Lubag

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Clara May Clift Triplett

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2014

Breast cancer in younger women

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA2

Talking with your doctor

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA3

Breast cancer myths

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA4

Diet linked to cancer

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA9

Giving emotional support

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA10

After the treatment

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA12

Join the fight: Get involved

By Green Shoot Media | From Page: BCA15