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The California State Water Control Board, saying that Governor Brown's conservation measures are failing to reduce water consumption by 20 percent, today (July 15) approved fines up to $500 for residents who waste water on car washing, landscaping, and lawns.

It was a unanimous 4-0 vote. The board says water usage in May was up 1 percent from May of 2013. The board said that the fine is not so severe; the board is not asking for fewer showers, less toilet flushing, or a complete ban on outdoor irrigation.

But under the rules, you can't irrigate your lawn more than once a week and can't wash cars in driveways. Penalties will be at the discretion of local water districts.

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Comments

Burwell July 15, 2014 @ 11:26 p.m.

I have no intention of conserving water or paying for a car wash. I was born here and I am entitled to the water. Let the transplants conserve. They are responsible for the water shortage. I should not have to suffer for their stupidity in moving to an overcrowded area with high housing prices and a shortage of water.

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ImJustABill July 16, 2014 @ 7:09 a.m.

Agriculture uses the majority of water in CA.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 7:39 a.m.

ImJustABill: California has always steered the water to agriculture. Imperial County gets it and then sells it to San Diego County; that deal may be modified or abandoned in the future. There is unrest in Imperial County.

I can remember the days when economists said that California had plenty of water -- it's just that it was hogged by agriculture. Now, I am not so sure that California has sufficient water, for residences or agricultural purposes. The statistics on this drought are frightening. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 7:34 a.m.

Burwell: Well, if county water authorities go along with the state plan, will you be willing to pay up to $500 for offenses?

Look at the economics. The median home value in San Diego is getting back close to $500,000, one of the highest in the nation. While much of that price pressure is coming from speculators, somebody ultimately will pay that price for a home. On the other hand, out-migration still tops in-migration. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 16, 2014 @ 8:01 a.m.

If I am forced to pay for a car wash that destroys the paint on my car, then every time I pay for the car wash I am going to run 1,000 gallons of water down the bath tub drain for the hell of it.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 8:47 a.m.

Burwell: I hope state regulators don't subpoena the Reader to find out who Burwell is, so they can pick his or her pockets. (Just kidding; the Reader doesn't give out that info.) Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 16, 2014 @ 12:48 p.m.

That would be like the state regulators to go after Burwell for running his tub faucet overnight while letting SDG&E and MWD off scott free for any wrong doing.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:06 p.m.

ImJustABill: SDG&E's primary regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission, tries to let the utility (and other state utilities) off the hook on EVERYTHING. Best, Don Bauder

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OsideDave July 16, 2014 @ 2:15 p.m.

Being wasteful for no good reason is stupid. We live in a desert, save some water you greedy know it all.

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Founder July 16, 2014 @ 2:49 p.m.

OsideDave, your comment is like one person telling others that we have finite Oil and to drive the speed limit in order to save gasoline...

We will never have "enough" water if ever more people move to CA, as for me, I'd prefer less people and more water; especially for those living in older neighborhoods that have invested in lawns and their sprinkler systems.

Perhaps if you said that all new construction must have NO lawns, that would send the right message, since then those buying that real estate would not be able to complain.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2014 @ 8:44 a.m.

Founder: I would go one step further. I would take some measure (demand or encouragement) to get people to desertify their lawns now. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:08 p.m.

OsideDave: Personally, I am in favor of tougher long-term conservation measures, tougher water usage bans, and tougher penalties for violators. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 16, 2014 @ 7:13 a.m.

Just silly. Decades long systematic failure of the CA government to provide adequate water (through building reservoirs, de-sal, or limiting agricultural use, etc). And now they want Draconian fines for water usage - HA.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 7:43 a.m.

ImJustABill: Certainly, desalination has been too slow to develop. Perhaps you can put much blame on government. But California can't let mistakes of the past dictate future policy. The crisis is here and now. Draconian measures -- tougher than the ones passed yesterday -- are in order. Best, Don Bauder

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CaptainObvious July 16, 2014 @ 8:26 a.m.

Here in the Sierras people are talking about the possibility of agencies metering our private wells. That's not gonna happen around here without a lot of drama! Some wells are reportedly running dry, but that is mostly Agricultural people down at lower elevations (and San Diegans who live near a certain casino). Just in case, I recently bought a water truck. My acres of tall coniferous trees are very resistant to drought, but I want a large reserve for fire fighting. I have planted nothing that does not naturally grow here, therefore I am water conservative and low maintenence, and will fight any attempt to change my already minimal usage. I already have an incentive, the more I use, the more it costs to pump it from the ground. Lawns do not belong in the forest (or in that chaparell scrubland-become city you live in), but many believe different and will pay the price while complaining about it. As "Scotty" the Scotsman on TV should say, "kill your lawn, KILL IT"

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 8:48 a.m.

CaptainObvious: Not too far from where I live, there are a lot of people who have their water trucked in regularly. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK July 16, 2014 @ 8:28 a.m.

every year flooding a few states away, seems like it would be just as easy to build a water transport system as it is to build an oil transport system.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 8:52 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Your perspicacious comment makes me think of another controversy: fracking. Personally, I oppose it because it wastes a huge amount of water. (Causing earthquakes is another matter.) But it seems to me that in deciding on fracking, we have to choose between water and energy. I will go with water. Ban fracking. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK July 16, 2014 @ 12:34 p.m.

yes, the people that live in the area where it takes place is getting fracked over by the oil companies.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:11 p.m.

Murphyjunk: I oppose fracking even though my portfolio is packed with oil stocks. Utilities are my biggest stock holdings and I want regulators to crack down on them. Best, Don Bauder

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Susan Luzzaro July 16, 2014 @ 10:09 a.m.

Hi Don, This potential water fine imposition is ironic as Chula Vista continues to expand eastward. I've lost count of how many new houses and condos are coming on line....

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 12:23 p.m.

Susan Luzzaro: You can't expect real estate developers to think long term. They will build, build, build no matter the future roadblocks. Best, Don Bauder

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rehftmann July 16, 2014 @ 12:52 p.m.

Making lawn waterers and car washers the criminals is dramatic. There you are in front of your American dream home and the Aqua-Stazi bust you in front of your neighbors for dastardly deeds against man and nature. Actually, all the dead lawns and dirty cars aren't going to move the water use needle for the state of California, which spins furiously supplying Central Valley growers (their freeway signs about a government caused drought aside), industrial users, and leaky municipal and private pipes. Like any good institution, the water authority makes the devils it protects you from, the oldest racket around. (Maybe the second oldest; it's not worth debating.) Instead of regulation, which brings any red blooded American's red blood to a boil, why don't we let the invisible hand turn the tap? Make the first tier water bill $0, charge something reasonable for second tier, and soak the rich in the upper tiers? Burwell's birthright may not be a good justification, but his vindictive threat to flush our water is what happens all day everywhere anyway.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:15 p.m.

rehftmann: I understand at some San Diego golf courses, the grass is brown except for around 150-200 yards off the tee, where most balls land. There it's green -- and on the greens, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell July 16, 2014 @ 1:50 p.m.

I'll start conserving water when Charles Brandes drains his swimming lagoon and pool, and the private golf course surrounding his estate turns brown. This is the type of corruption we've learned to expect from Governor Brown: fine the little guy $500 for washing his car while looking the other way while the wealthy waste as much water as they please.

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:20 p.m.

Burwell: I agree with you. The rich get off. Glad you mentioned Charles Brandes getting drained. He has another drainage problem. Brandes Investment Partners used to have more than $100 billion under management. Last time I looked (which was some time ago), it was under $30 billion. Best, Don Bauder

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eastlaker July 16, 2014 @ 2:26 p.m.

Will all the HOAs continue holding people to maintaining green lawns?

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:22 p.m.

eastlaker: Now that is a very good question. I don't see how they can in areas that go along with the board's recommendation. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder July 16, 2014 @ 2:42 p.m.

Some suggestions:

  1. Nobody should vote for any elected Leader that does not immediately support massive desalinization projects either along CA's coast line and/or slightly offshore. The price of water is nowhere near the price of gasoline and/or diesel so the solution is not conservation but increasing the supply, especially since so many in CA already get all the free water they want because of early contracts; which allows them to sell "their"water.

  2. To increase the pressure on elected Leaders, we should immediately put a moratorium on all new construction in CA., that will speed the process up of providing more potable water, since Big Contractors want to continue to Build, Build, Build.

  3. We should demand that all water carrying canals be covered with solar panel to both generate electricity (that will be sold to reduce the cost of water for state users) and prevent excessive evaporation which is excessive especially in the desert parts of CA.

  4. Consumption should not be limited unless each person is allotted the same amount of water, to be used as they wish, so that those with huge homes cannot use more than anyone else.

Water equality is far easier to regulate than water injustice...

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Don Bauder July 16, 2014 @ 3:25 p.m.

Founder: I go along with everything you say except point no. 4. I think those with larger homes and larger families should be able to use more water than the single person living in a one-room apartment. Again, though, the rich have to be monitored along with everybody else. Best, Don Bauder

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Saikali July 16, 2014 @ 7:02 p.m.

Don, director Roman Polanski's masterpiece in noir cinema was Chinatown (1974), a story about the corruption involved in bringing water to the 1930's San Fernando Valley so that it could be developed from a network of orange groves to a highly populated grid of residential and business communities that it has been for several decades now.

Although the account (written by Robert Towne) was fictional, I have always thought there may be some general truths in the story of corruption that were applicable to Los Angeles and maybe to San Diego too. Any thoughts?

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Visduh July 16, 2014 @ 7:31 p.m.

Hah. That movie is my 30-something son's favorite movie. He has his digs covered with posters for the flick from around the world. But actually, when that movie was set (mid- to late-1930's) LA was awash in Owens Valley water, and was supporting a huge citrus-growing area that depended upon that stolen water. There was corruption for sure in getting the water, but that happened far earlier than the 30's. If we could set back time and stop the theft of Owens Valley water by LA and Hetch Hetchy water by San Francisco, the history and development of the state would be much different than we experienced. And it might just be a better story than today's situation.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2014 @ 1:01 p.m.

Visduh: You are no doubt right. I would like to hear your interpretation of how state history would have changed if L.A. and S.F. hadn't stolen water. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh July 23, 2014 @ 8:32 a.m.

While SF was well-established by the time Hetch Hetchy was dammed, it didn't have the luxury of a big supply of clean, wonderful water. So, much of its dominance of the state in the earlier part of the 20th century was facilitated in part by the generous amount of water it had available. Its population would likely be smaller without the water, and the overall Bay area would also have developed to a lesser degree.

In the case of LA, it just would not have been able to develop into the megalopolis it is now without all the water. So, the population of the LA basin and surrounding areas (including San Diego) would have been constrained by a lack of water. Overall, the population of the state would be smaller today. In the case of the LA basin we might be looking at half or less of the growth that actually occurred.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2014 @ 8:50 a.m.

Saikali: There was tremendous corruption in the bringing of water to Los Angeles. Some of the water flows to San Diego. That's involved in a bitter lawsuit. The movie was on the mark. The area from which the L.A. water was drawn has dried up completely and is a health hazard. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 16, 2014 @ 9:59 p.m.

It most likely isn't going to get any easier. Projections would tend to indicate more people, more developments, and hotter and drier weather in CA's future.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2014 @ 8:55 a.m.

ImJustABill: If you project current trends into the future, it appears the state is doomed to more people and developments, and hotter and drier weather. I think the latter is a shoo-in: the state will have hotter and drier weather.

But, with weather like that, will population continue to come in and residential real estate prices continue to soar? I doubt it strongly. If anything, prices are so high now that California could be in for another housing price crash, although it might not develop as quickly as the last one did. Best, Don Bauder

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CaptainObvious July 17, 2014 @ 7:44 a.m.

Founder, I don't know why my 'puter wont let me answer in-line. sorry.

  1. Desalination takes a lot of energy. Are you willing to go Nuclear and pay for it? I beleive it would be worthwhile, and could be configured to create power as well. 2,Good luck with that, developers make political donations and create places that bring in voters. 3, Once again, making solar panels requires much energy and chemicals. How green is it they where they are made in China? Even plain plastic or concrete covers will add much to your water bill. 4, Thats not really fair, is it?
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Don Bauder July 17, 2014 @ 8:57 a.m.

CaptainObvious: Yes, desalination takes energy. Nuclear energy? We will have to see. Long term, rooftop solar is the answer. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder July 17, 2014 @ 9:40 a.m.

N☢ to using nuclear but soon using offshore Wind and/or subsurface ocean wave/ocean current generated electricity will be able to make unlimited amounts of fresh water once it is installed.

Until then, as the cost of water goes upward, expect to see more being shipped to CA, so expect to soon see massive amounts of water being shipped to CA, just like Oil is now, only without the chance of any Eco-disaster in case of a leak.

If we were really smart we would build large pipelines to connect different parts of the US so that we could make better use of the fresh water we have, especially during storms and flooding.

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Don Bauder July 17, 2014 @ 1:20 p.m.

Founder: I have read some analyses suggesting water pipelines. Interesting. They could forestall the water disaster that seems likely to hit the U.S. Southwest. Or, I should say, a continuation of the drought that is already parching the Southwest. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder July 18, 2014 @ 3:03 p.m.

Don - Imagine if instead of the Mississippi flooding New Orleans (again) the excess water was diverted to be stored in the Salton Sea or other similar locations for use when needed. That would be a huge Win-Win for everyone and is the type of planning that our elected Leaders should be doing instead of just jacking up little peoples rates.

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Don Bauder July 18, 2014 @ 3:56 p.m.

Founder: I agree that water planning for the future is dismal. Suggestions you have made, such as utilization of subsurface ocean wave currents, should be on the planning board now. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 18, 2014 @ 3:59 p.m.

Don Wood: I agree that continued residential development is unwise. In fact, I would be in favor of a development moratorium right now. That goes for Phoenix and Las Vegas, too. But you are right: very little will be done until no water comes out of taps. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 18, 2014 @ 10:04 p.m.

There are 31 states that fall into the Mississippi watershed. Any effort to move any "excess" water from within the watershed to another part of the country would require 2 things before it ever even got off the ground: co-operation and involvement of the Federal government and co-operation of those 31 states. And therein lies the problem. Unless it is response to an emergency, think Katrina/FEMA, the feds basically ignore the river’s needs because all of those various local jurisdictions fighting over there own interests among themselves rather than working together for the common good. In other words, the political infighting and lack federal of funding makes moving forward on any project to improve the Mississippi all but impossible. That being the case, how much chance do you think there is of EVER getting a project to steal water from the Mississippi and move it west even getting to the drawing board. I would say there are two chances, slim and not a f*cking chance in hell. But, then again, I'm just being my normal, pragmatic self. By the way, the Bonnet Carre Spillway is the flood control operation for the lower Mississippi Valley. You might want to look at this: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lix/?n=ms_flood_history

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Don Bauder July 19, 2014 @ 6:46 a.m.

danfogel: Excellent question. I think Founder should address it. He may have had more in mind than the Mississippi watershed. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 19, 2014 @ 12:31 p.m.

Well, my comment was a reply to that of the founder/captd and since he specifically named the Mississippi, logic would say he was referring to it. And the reality is there really aren't any other rivers that would fit the "criterion"; the Missouri and Ohio flow into the Mississippi, the Rio Grand is out of the question as is the Columbia and the Colorado ia already over-taxed. That's it.

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Don Bauder July 20, 2014 @ 8:38 a.m.

danfogel: We are waiting for Founder to respond to your observation. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 20, 2014 @ 9:50 a.m.

don bauder, founder rarely replies to those expressing an opinion contrary to his.

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Don Bauder July 20, 2014 @ 10:58 a.m.

danfogel: Maybe we can nudge him. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2014 @ 3:24 p.m.

danfogel: Be patient. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 20, 2014 @ 10:06 p.m.

Patience is for those who have an expectation. I have no expectations of a response from founder/captd

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Don Bauder July 21, 2014 @ 3:58 p.m.

danfogel: Repeat: as Gilbert & Sullivan counseled, "Patience." Founder/Captain D is highly knowledgeable on several topics, particularly utilities. I think he will respond. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 21, 2014 @ 10:43 p.m.

don bauder, don't really care either way, but I doubt that he will. He does seem to be knowledgeable, but as I said, he rarely replies to those expressing an opinion contrary to his.

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Don Bauder July 22, 2014 @ 7:21 a.m.

danfogel: I have faith in Founder/CaptD. Best, Don Bauder

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Ken Harrison July 22, 2014 @ 11:34 p.m.

I think I'm going to go flush my toilet for no reason. I paid for every drop in the tank. The last time I conserved and cut back 20%, my water rates went up. Not going to be fooled this time.

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Don Bauder July 23, 2014 @ 7:13 a.m.

Ken Harrison: Your conservation efforts and the rise in your rates seem logical to me. The call for conservation resulted from a shortage of water. That, in turn, caused a rise in rates. Best, Don Bauder

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