I played by the rules, and now my tomatoes are dead.
Yes, I was one of those people who took the city of Redding's new water restrictions to heart, and I'm kind of sorry I did.
Northern Californians have actually been doing a bang up job conserving water since the Governor declared a drought back in February. Those of us who live in the shadow of a snow-less Mount Shasta and an almost empty Lake Shasta saw the reality of the situation right away, and managed to cut back our water use by 13%.
We should be proud, you know. Because that's the best in the state. Meanwhile, down in Southern California, where they drink water piped in all the way from Lake Shasta, instead of cutting back a little, water usage increased by 8%. There's so many people in Southern California, that they're selfish actions actually increased the entire state's water consumption by 1%.
It makes me kinda mad. I'm sure it made Jerry Brown mad. It definitely ruffled some feathers on the State Water Board, because they passed a new regulation that allowed them to fine municipalities $10,000 a day if they didn't turn around their customers' bad water habits. And to help them do it, they gave communities the authority to fine their own customers up to $500 a day for wasting water.
So Redding came up with a plan to help us Northstaters cut back a bit further. They came up with some rules. Watering limited to 3 days a week and only between 9pm and 7am. No washing the car without a nozzle. No hosing down the pavement. No water allowed to run out into the street.
On August 1st, the day the new water rules took effect, I spent some quality time with my automatic watering system, and changed each zone so that I now watered each zone in the yard on the specified days. I'm on the even side of the street, so I'm watering Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday. And no refilling the cool tub, even though this isn't specified in the Redding rules. In the summertime at our house, we turn off the heat and our hot tub becomes a cool tub. But since I haven't put fresh water in for a few weeks, its a hot tub again. Just doing my part.
This means my poor tomatoes had to suffer through roasting temperatures Sunday & Monday with no water. Nothing to quench their thirst. Not a drop of water for two long days. If this was the Bay Area, it probably wouldn't have been a big deal. But this is Redding. And this is the time of year it's 100+ almost every single day.
It didn't take long for my tomato plants to turn brown, and for the leaves to fall off. And now they're pretty much just dead.
Maybe you already heard about this, but meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, they've decided to do their part by setting up a giant, 3 block long Slip & Slide through downtown.
I shit you not.
A week after my tomatoes started silently screaming for agua, news outlets began reporting that Slide the City would take place in September. It looks fun and all, but TIMING.
Now I don't have anything against the concept of bringing a 1,000 foot water slide to a community. And Slide The City is making the rounds to a lot of places right now. In a few weeks, it'll be in Boise. Where the Governor has NOT, I repeat NOT declared a State of Emergency due to a drought.
I checked out SlideTheCity.com, and this incredible waste of water is supposed to also be coming to Orange County, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco in the near future (date TBA). I've got a suggestion for our cities in the south: how about scheduling the event as a reward for reaching the state's 20% conservation goal after the fact, instead of before?
An online petition has been started to stop the event, and another to save it. Last I checked it was 8,547 votes against, with 168 for it.
There's only one way out of this potential public relations nightmare as I see it:
Find some way to capture the water used for the event and recycle it in some savvy manner, calling attention to the crazy amount of water wasting going on in Southern California.
Meanwhile, I wonder of the State Water Board is paying attention, and plans to fine L.A. and any other city in California $10,000 a day as allowed by law for wasting water with a giant Slip & Slide.
Enjoy today's Grooveshark Playlist, which is in honor of my poor, departed tomatoes. May they roast in peace.
- Black Water - The Doobie Brothers
- Drink The Water - Jack Johnson
- Don't Drink the Water - Dave Matthews Band
- Treading Water - Alex Clare
- Got No Water - Matisyahu
- Salt Water Sound - Zero 7
- Down By The Water - The Decemberists
- Glass of Water - Cold Play
- Cold Water - Damien Rice
- Water Runs Dry - Boyz II Men
- Water of Love - Dire Straits
- Water From The Well - Ray LaMontagne
- The Water - Feist
- Deep Water - Portishead
- 90 Mile Water Wall - The National
- Wade In The Water - Eva Cassidy
- You Left The Water Running - Otis Redding
- Water - Brad Paisley
- Cool Water - Marty Robbins
- Dirty Water - The Standells
- I Come From The Water - Toadies
- Down By The Water - PJ Harvey
- Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
- Water - Breaking Benjamin
- That's What The Water Made Me - Bon Jovi