OpinionOpinion L.A.
Opinion

Who you gonna call: 'Drought Busters' or 'Water Conservation Response Unit'?

ConservationCalifornia DroughtWater SupplyLos Angeles Department of Water and Power
The DWP changed the 'Drought Busters' to the 'Water Conservation Response Unit.' Boring
If DWP is serious about educating people about water conservation, revive the 'Drought Busters'

Dear Los Angeles Department of Water and Power,

Please bring back the “Drought Busters.”

We’re in the midst of what could be the worst drought in California history, and despite calls for residents throughout the state to cut their water consumption by 20%, some communities actually have used more water.

I realize Los Angeles has been a leader in wise water use and DWP customers have reduced consumption by 17% since the city enacted an Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance in 2008. But water use is beginning to creep up in L.A., despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s warning that the state is in a mega-drought. Daily per capita water use in Los Angeles is now 129 gallons, up from a low of 122 gallons in 2011.

Angelenos need reminding. The “Drought Busters” could help. Remember how they cruised the city in Toyota Priuses with the “Drought Buster” logo — a dripping water faucet crossed out in red, a clever reference to the “Ghostbusters” emblem from the 1984 movie? After Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled the team of water enforcers, there were stories all over television and radio as well as local and national newspapers.

Oh sure, you’re going to say, “We never got rid of the ‘Drought Busters.’ We still have employees who investigate reports of water waste and try to educate people on how to curtail their usage. We just changed their name, to the ‘Water Conservation Response Unit.’ ”

Water Conservation Response Unit: That is so boring I almost fell asleep typing it. And it doesn’t even have a good acronym. WCRU sounds like a public radio station in the Midwest.

This is no time to be dull. The state is in its third straight dry year and this one is the driest on record. While Southern California has done an admirable job investing in reservoirs and underground water banks so we don’t have to begin rationing, nobody knows how long this dry period will last. The sooner Angelenos hear the message of conservation, loud and clear, the better prepared we’ll be if the drought continues.

Some have suggested “Drought Busters” is an inaccurate or misleading name because it implies Los Angeles needs to conserve only during dry periods. Of course, that’s not true. Give Angelenos some credit that with an ongoing public education campaign, they’ll understand that conservation is essential to the long-term sustainability of Los Angeles and California.

But to educate people, first you have to get their attention.

So, DWP, who you gonna call: The “Water Conservation Response Unit” or the “Drought Busters”?

For more opinions, follow me @kerrycavan

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
ConservationCalifornia DroughtWater SupplyLos Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • 'Hey, Mom, wanna peer-review my research paper?'
    'Hey, Mom, wanna peer-review my research paper?'

    One of the supposed strengths of academic publishing is its reliance on a peer-review process. Someone writes a paper or collates research and others in the field assess the work for validity, accuracy and intellectual rigor before a journal publishes it.

  • How to keep future cold wars cold: Mind the missiles

    At a time when we are reflecting on the lessons from the Cold War amid growing concern about the current U.S.-Russia relationship, we should be looking ahead to anticipate how changes in technology and geopolitics create new challenges to peace and stability among the world's major powers.

  • Routing people away from the Hollywood sign is the wrong path
    Routing people away from the Hollywood sign is the wrong path

    It's a holiday weekend, you're entertaining relatives from Topeka, Kan., and since no sightseeing trip would be complete without a viewing of the Hollywood sign, you look up directions. But if you're using Google, MapQuest or most GPS systems, you'll be routed to the Griffith Park...

  • Bailed-out GM needs to rev up emissions effort
    Bailed-out GM needs to rev up emissions effort

    Half a century ago Ralph Nader published “Unsafe at Any Speed,” which warned of the hazards built into the Chevrolet Corvair. Today, General Motors' safety record is still being justly vilified, most recently for an ignition defect blamed for at least 33 deaths. And a new report...

  • How Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky changed L.A. County
    How Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky changed L.A. County

    Gloria Molina came to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1991 after a federal court threw out the previous year's election and ordered a new one for a new district, drawn with boundaries that gave Latinos something closer to a proportionate share of representation. It was a landmark...

  • Some perspective on what we have to be thankful for
    Some perspective on what we have to be thankful for

    Of the original 102 Pilgrims who arrived in North America aboard the Mayflower in the fall of 1620, only about half survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving, in November 1621. The rest perished through starvation and lack of shelter. The survivors gave thanks to God for a plentiful harvest....

Comments
Loading