Opinion
Join The Times' book club. This month's selection: "Cadillac Desert"
Opinion Opinion L.A.
Opinion

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

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 © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • It's not just a 'California drought'

    It's not just a 'California drought'

    In a somber opening to wildfire season this month, federal and state officials meeting in Nevada warned that kindling-dry forests and a rainless forecast could lead multiple states in the Great Basin to erupt in flames at once, stretching firefighters and equipment thin across the region.

  • The Boy Scouts of America's baby steps on accepting gay Scout leaders

    The Boy Scouts of America's baby steps on accepting gay Scout leaders

    Robert M. Gates, the former U.S. Defense secretary and current Boy Scouts of America president, earlier today urged the youth organization to, essentially, grow up and allow gays to serve in leadership roles.

  • Can David Ryu maintain his outsider stance inside City Hall?

    Can David Ryu maintain his outsider stance inside City Hall?

    No matter what David Ryu's election to the Los Angeles City Council District 4 seat says about the demographics of the voters who chose him, his victory brings a significant change in the demographics of the 15-member council. Ryu becomes the first Korean American member and just the second Asian...

  • Back to work at L.A. Unified

    Back to work at L.A. Unified

    Voters — few though they were — sent some strong messages to the Los Angeles Unified school board Tuesday. That two incumbents were voted out showed justified unhappiness with the current board. People are still mad about the badly mishandled plan to purchase iPads for every student in the district....

  • L.A. needs better than minimum-wage jobs

    L.A. needs better than minimum-wage jobs

    The City Council's decision Tuesday to raise the minimum wage to $15 in Los Angeles was hailed as a major step toward easing the strain of poverty among the city's low-wage workers. And it may well be. The state's current minimum wage of $9 an hour just isn't enough to live on in a high-cost city....

  • Despite Tsarnaev, the death penalty is on the decline

    Despite Tsarnaev, the death penalty is on the decline

    The execution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing — if it ever takes place — will quite possibly be the last of its kind, remembered as the last time the federal government put a person to death.

Comments
Loading