The Browning of MB?

Posted by Dave Fratello on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 4:27am.

All that water – so close, right there in the mighty Pacific, stretching out for thousands of miles north, west and south.

It does nothing to alleviate our multi-year drought.

Combine dry conditions with the diversion of some water that was once available to Southern California, and we've got a water crisis taking shape. So Cal water reserves, which are already being tapped to meet demand, are down in the "yellow" zone, getting hairy (graphic via BeWaterWise.com).

Starting Thursday, we enter a fairly mild Stage 2 Water Shortage with attendant new restrictions on home and business uses of water. The goal here is a modest 10% reduction in the demand for potable water, so the limits aren't too draconian yet.

You are probably familiar with the major changes (ominously labeled "new permanent behaviors" by the city):
  • Landscape watering is limited to 2 days per week (Weds., Sat.), 15 minutes max, and watering is prohibited between 9am-6pm;
  • No washing cars, driveways, sidewalks, with minor exceptions;
  • No filling fountains, pools, hot tubs, etc., with minor exceptions.
That, plus you won't get a glass of water at a restaurant without asking for it. And businesses are going to need to start switching out all public, er, facilities to low-flow devices.

You've been putting off a transition to low-maintenance, drought-tolerant landscaping? Time to make the switch. That, or hire one of those paint-your-grass-green services. (We kid – your lawn will do better than expected.)

Compliance shouldn't be hard, but you just know there are going to be scofflaws who absolutely need the big grassy yard (or putting green) to look its best, or still need that superclean driveway you could eat off of.

Violators get hit with an infraction for the first offense ($75) and a misdemeanor for each violation thereafter. (See the MB ordinance.) Each time you break the rules, it's a new offense, so a habitual violator could conceivably be charged all at once with many offenses. They'll have to make an example of somebody along the way.

It's a blessing to live in California, even if the state has no money or water. This is a time to start making smart changes wherever we can. (See a list of 100 ways to conserve water.) Where we succeed, we improve our community, even amid the tough times.
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