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California’s “Drought”

We live with a never-ending drought in California – especially in Santa Barbara where I was just hit by a whopping $906.15 water bill for December from my local Montecito Water District. The bill included a $480.00 penalty, a $144.90 “surcharge” and a $44.59 “meter service charge.” The charge for the actual water used was $236.66. I have no idea why I had a higher reading on the meter last month. I’m guessing that the gardener may have left my low-flow sprinklers running – but that is just a guess.

I might try appealing the bill, but I’m allowed to appeal only the $480.00 penalty portion of the bill and the water district charges a non-refundable fee of over $200.00 to appeal a penalty (they tell me my appeal would be rejected because I can’t explain the high meter reading).

In “drought stricken” California we live with the random threat of crazy water bills bloated by penalties, along with our “gold is the new green” lawns. No amount of rain seems to impact the drought perception. Our local reservoir, Lake Cachuma, remains at alarmingly low levels compared to other lakes because it isn’t much of a lake; it is sustained with deliveries of water from the California state water system, which have been curtailed because of the drought. Other, better planned California reservoirs have been overflowing from the recent storms. As much as I hate to say it, I have to agree with Donald Trump that the California drought is more a matter of poor planning and poor priorities.

Nothing will turn a liberal cartoonist into a conservative like receiving a $906.15 water bill when the whole state is flooded.

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

9 replies on “California’s “Drought””

Aquifers take a while to restore, I guess. It might take more than a few good wet seasons to repenlentish. Sorry about the bill, though. It's an ominous sign of what's to come in the Trump era.

"THE WHOLE STATE IS FLOODED"??!!! That's news to me. Some parts have water, other parts are very dry. You say it's crummy planning? Okay, why don't YOU create a plan for the entire state that gives water to everyone fairly, and be sure you don't raise taxes any for your little trillion-dollar water project. Face it dude, you screwed up! Your little town didn't anticipate the world would screw up so badly that your particular location would have years of no water. Most of us can't afford a gardener. Many of us gave up growing a lawn. I myself don't use sprinklers because the wind blows away most of the water. I use a drip hose that I move around the lawn by hand. Like I said, I can't afford a gardner. Hell, I can't afford to live in California anymore, so I'm stuck in this hellhole they call Texass. I'll tell you what, why don't you come live with the rest of us in this crappy, ultra-conservative, crazy state? You can come here to Dallass where there is no view of anything. No mountains, no ocean, no nothing. Where the summers are like hell and the winters are literally freezing, and where spring and fall add up to about eight weeks out of the entire year.

How about using your brain instead of complaining? If you get so much rain, as you claim, why don't you store your own rainwater for later? There are lots of large containers you can get for just that purpose. Oh, your little area didn't get that much rain? POOR BABY!!!

Elections have consequences, Daryl: so happy to see you are grateful for a good outcome! I, too, look forward to common sense and reason coming back into vogue.
Like Trump said: we are going to win so much, we (Americans) will be sick of winning. Let it start with the water!
XD

Perhaps this would be a good time for us all to lower our future expectations. First, it is obvious that during the next ten years that the world will experience serious disruptions in its food supply. Although it is unlikely that too many millions of Americans will actually starve, that should cause considerable conflict and disruption (think of the problems Europe is having with illegal immigration multiplied by a factor of 4 or 5). Second, the effective political deadlock of the last 6 years within the United States may soon seem to have been a period of peace and tranquility compared to what is in our future with our various governments and groups within society running amuck while our social 'security' sinks under a load of more weapons and violence. Does anyone actually believe that under these circumstances that problems to do with water distribution and the repair of aging infrastructure is going to get much attention??????

I live not far from Darryl in Camarillo. We have almost two acres in a hilly area and built our own home of about 3000 square feet. Our entire place is xeroscaped with drought tolerant California native plants so the only water we use on the exterior is for the potted plants on the patio. After paying $33 for our monthly connection fee, our water bill is at most $12.24. Yes, that's $45 per month. We only use about 3500 gallons per month total.

Conserving water and energy is one way we can afford to live where we do. Our natural gas bill is under $15 in the Spring-Fall and $50 in the Winter. Power is about $90 except when we use the A/C in the Summer and then jumps to $110 or so. Foresight in planning our home with good insulation and the landscaping has paid off in a big way for us.

Santa Barbara used to have a sound planning principle: We should live within our local water resources and not build houses for which the region could not provide water. When we had a seven-year drought, we rationed the water and when that was not enough, we built a desalination plant. The rains came just as the desalination plant was finished, so it never really got to deliver.

At the same time as we built the desal plant, the local realtors pushed through a ballot initiative to supply our local reservoir with Northern California water from the State Water project. This required building a very expensive pipeline. Incredibly, the voters approved this project, despite two damning facts: (1) The water from this pipeline (including amortization of the pipeline) would be MORE expensive than the desalinated seawater; and (2) In an actual drought, the state water project would be unable to deliver anywhere near the contracted amount of water.

During this drought, we have been working to put the mothballed desalination plant back into operation, but for reasons that I don't quite understand, it has turned into a boondoggle. Every month, the completion date slides another month into the future, and the projected cost goes up by another 5-10 million dollars. Now THERE is something to be indignant about.

As for your water bill: Tough luck. The rest of us have turned our sprinklers off completely many month ago, and have been hand watering our trees with buckets to keep them alive.

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