We're Trying

By Dave Fratello | July 22nd, 2009
By and large, MB residents are trying to comply with the new Stage 2 water restrictions.

That's according to results of an unscientific poll here at MBC. (See "The Browning of MB?" and "Complying, or All Wet?")

Notwithstanding the city's dedicated efforts at befuddling residents (see "Thursday is Wednesday, 'Permanently' - Got That?"), most are trying to follow the new rules.

Given the option to anonymously self-report bad behavior, just 24% said they were "mostly ignoring" the water limits. Another 2% said they had been warned after violating the restrictions. (Click graph to enlarge.)

That left 74% of MBC readers claiming some degree of compliance. A quarter of readers volunteered that they had made "some mistakes," which suggests some awareness of the rules and a desire to get water use in line.

On the disappointing side of the ledger, only 12% reported that they were using the occasion of the new restrictions to try to make other improvements in their water use to save extra.

In the MBC household, this "saving extra" is a matter of some debate. Your blog author is thinking we've shortened showers and cut back on lots of little things. Plus we've got the brown patches outside to prove we're legit. But Mrs. MBC seems to think that a couple of extra loads of beach laundry each week are wiping out any benefits from the small steps. Perhaps so, but it won't be Summer forever.

The city, which was forced to implement these "permanent" water restrictions after the Metropolitan Water District declared a Stage 2 shortage on April 15, is actively encouraging neighbors to report on others whose water use does not conform. (This is supposed to help generate awareness, not help neighbors settle grudges among one another.) The city follows up with warnings first. Citations and possible misdemeanor charges are further down the road.

We wondered: How much noncompliance are people seeing among their neighbors?

A second poll question found 45% of readers reporting that they had seen "brazen violations" of the water restrictions by others. Another 17% had seen "rare violations," which tends to underscore the idea that some folks are willfully running afoul of the restrictions, and looking like it, too.

That said, only 4% of readers claimed to have reported anyone, even though the city makes it easy with a dedicated email address: waterwaster@citymb.info (click to begin an email).

Only 10% of readers thought their neighbors were really being careful and cutting back, pretty close to the 12% self-reporting above-and-beyond compliance.

And not everyone is being a fuss-budget about their neighbors' watering. Our poll found 27% of respondents saying they "haven't noticed" one way or the other. There are, apparently, other things to worry about.

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