Drought Shaming in California

July 17, 2014

Katie McKissick in Scientific American Blogs:

California is in the throes a serious drought, but driving around Los Angeles, you wouldn’t know it. Lush, green lawns. Sprinklers going off in the middle of the afternoon when much of the water will just evaporate. People using the hose to (inexplicably) clean off their sidewalk. I refer to people who maintain these habits as “water jerks.”

My backyard has grass, and when my husband and I moved in almost a year ago, we promptly stopped watering it. We haven’t yet replaced it with native plants, rocks, and other such water-saving landscape, so it’s just… yellow grass. But my dead backyard for now is proof that I care about water conservation, and I refuse to waste hundreds upon hundreds of gallons a water a month just to keep some grass green. I even bragged about it on Twitter.






8 Responses to “Drought Shaming in California”

  1. anotheralionel Says:

    And how are the golf courses fairing?

    Any better than the wildlife driven off them, and surrounding areas, by pesticide and herbicide use.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Californians continue to whistle past the graveyard and “think positively”. They want the drought to go away and the situation to improve, and all they have to do is think in ways that “attract” the water. Problem solved.

    Actually, the best thing that could happen is for the drought to continue there for as many years as needed to produce “the great disruption”, which will then lead to “the great awakening” and meaningful action.

    In the meantime, “drought shaming” should continue and be stepped up as a means of raising awareness so that the whole problem can be addressed (including the agricultural uses of water).

    Once it gets worse, I predict that there will be midnight spray paint graffiti applications on the cars and houses of those who waste water—-and that will finally get their attention.

    • andrewfez Says:

      One of LA’s more upscale neighborhoods (upscale because of the housing bubble) is kind of going in the opposite direction:


      Couple faces $500 fine for NOT watering their lawn:


      The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports the letter from the code enforcement bureau says the dry grass could be a “potential public nuisance problem.” Michael Korte and his wife Laura Whitney are told if they don’t revive the lawn they could be hit with up to $500 in fines and possible criminal action.


      Evidently a neighbor complained that their lawn was brown. First drop that hit that person’s pavement, I’d turn them in for excessive use.

      So now you have to walk a fine line between a $500 fine for watering too much and a $500 fine for water too little. Where are the libertarians at now?

  3. anotheralionel Says:

    “…there will be midnight spray paint graffiti…”

    Well they should consider themselves lucky if it is only paint, I mean it would be offal if it were something else and no water to clean up.

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    LOL That would be offal, indeed! But certainly fitting. I am reminded of the offal Foo Bird joke from the 1950’s, in which the punch line is “If the Foo shits, wear it”.

  5. jimbills Says:

    This article ties California’s water use with its energy use:

    Saving water also equals saving energy.

    Watering lawns is one of the most ridiculous and ostentatious uses of water, but a household can save far more water by putting in highly efficient toilets and shower heads. They can save far more water than that, even, by cutting their meat intake:

    “•The water it takes to produce the average American diet alone—approximately 1,000 gallons per person per day—is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods.

    •That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.

    •A serving of poultry costs about 90 gallons of water to produce. There are also water costs embedded in the transportation of food (gasoline costs water to make). So, consider how far your food has to travel, and buy local to cut your water footprint.

    •Pork costs water to produce, and traditional pork production—to make your sausage, bacon, and chops—has also been the cause of some water pollution, as pig waste runs into local water sources.

    •On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.

    •A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that H2O used to grow the coffee beans.”

  6. anotheralionel Says:

    ‘Pork costs water to produce, and traditional pork production—to make your sausage, bacon, and chops—has also been the cause of some water pollution, as pig waste runs into local water sources.’

    That reminds me of Al Franken and his book ‘Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right’ wherein was a chapter with the title:

    Vast Lagoons of Pig Feces: The Bush Environmental Record.

    Franken’s account of his interaction with Barbara Bush raised a wry smile here.

  7. rayduray Says:

    NWS San Diego Drought Report:

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