Re "Get tough on water use," Editorial, Feb. 2
The "get tough" admonition is more than welcome. We should worry about the surprisingly complacent views expressed by Southern California water officials. We have enough water, they say. No problem yet.
This is not only complacent but irresponsible. Are we to wait until a severe crisis hits? We would be better served by some (perhaps painful) advance planning.
Raise water rates. Use the revenue for water recycling, rainwater capture, groundwater replenishment and conservation, among other things.
Update usage regulations to curb our wasteful habits and then enforce them.
Work with regional authorities to ensure Southern California's access to imported water.
Above all, do something now. Don't wait until it is too late.
The drought solutions mentioned by The Times — drought-tolerant landscaping and restaurants offering water only on request — are admirable but miss the big picture. Urban water use takes up about 20% of California's developed water supply, while the other 80% is used by agriculture.
Most of California's crops are watered using sprinklers or "gravity" — that is, flooding a field. Both methods waste massive amounts of water. Drip irrigation, by contrast, is 90% efficient. It's more expensive, but nothing is more expensive than depleting our civilization's water supplies.
It's time for Sacramento to set mandatory drip irrigation targets for our farmers. And the rest of us who enjoy California's fruit, vegetables and wine, should be willing to pay a temporary tax to subsidize the switch to drip.
In recent days, there's been much hype about the necessity of saving water, with all kinds of suggestions flying around. This editorial makes a passing reference to restaurants that serve large glasses of water with ice before anyone really asks.
Instead, restaurants should serve water only when asked, and they should reduce the amount served by half, mentioning the shortage and inviting people to ask if they need more.
I seldom drink even part of this water served; what happens to all those full or partially full glasses that are cleared away at the end?