Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Supersize it Today! Bleary Kermit

The title of this post is the subject line of an e-mail that got plopped into my spam box this morning. It made me giggle.

Poor bleary Kermit. I wonder what he's been doing that made him so muzzy and muddled?

Ah, that would explain it. Kermie's feeling down. He's feeling blue over being green, perhaps? Having to spend each day the color of the trees has got to be exhausting, don't you think? I do. Therefore, it's only natural that he "supersize" his life, as my spammy friend suggested.

Or, perhaps, Kermie's tired of other people not being green.

I can think of about 1 half a million reasons why he'd get tired and depressed, and they're all living right here in the Triangle.

(awesome segue about to happen in 3.....2......1.......)

Yeah, being green isn't what folks around here are all about. It's a bummer, and not just for our froggie little friend. Why, I'd go so far as to say that supersizing is so very NOT the answer that it might just be the PROBLEM.

(See? THAT'S how to bash a transition over the head and bend it to your will!)

Yes, the drought is still on. And NO, that doesn't mean that people are paying attention. The lake, our resevoir, is drying up. There is grass growing where bass and trout should be swimming, and where our frog buddies should be plopping into the shallows with a small wet "plunk" as kayakers paddle the shoreline. There are tree stumps 4 feet tall sticking out of the dry lakebed that were once covered with water.

We're going very dry here people, and yet I can see lawn sprinklers going on the way to work. The car washes are still doing a brisk business. The construction crews are still spraying down the roads.

LAWN sprinkers! CAR washes! Don't these people know we're in trouble here? Can't they see the great clouds of DUST being raised at the myriad of construction sites around this area? Don't they read the paper, listen to the radio, watch the news, open their eyes to see that this state, and several others in the Southeast, are dessicating?

Do they even know what dessicatingmeans? Have they seen it happen? Do they know that each gallon of water they waste is a gallon they can't get back in two months? Do they know that every time they turn on that tap they're letting something go that might NOT come back? Do they think that maybe, this once, the winter rains WON'T come?

What about that?

Some of us are doing something about the drought, and have been for some time. We can't NOT use water, but we sure can use less of it.

  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. One quart saved.
  • Turn off the tap when you wash dishes. A gallon (very likely MORE) saved.
  • Do laundry only when you've got a full load. 10 or more gallons saved.
  • Take a shorter shower, install a low-flow shower head. 2 gallons or more a MINUTE saved.

Let's take stock here. Me, as just one person, can save oh, about 12 gallons of water a DAY by doing these few simple things. Multiply that by the 500,000 people who live in this area and depend on the municipal water supply, and you've got a 6 million gallon a day savings.

But will this help? I have my doubts. Check out this snippet, published in AUGUST, from the local paper:

RALEIGH - Despite mandatory restrictions, Raleigh's water use has soared this month, setting three all-time daily highs.

The use directly correlates with recording-breaking temperatures. Still, the numbers startled city officials, because use spiked when only half of their water customers should have been watering their lawns, which officials think accounts for as much as 20 percent of total water consumption.

And from a slightly more recent story (published 12 Oct):

In response to the ever-lengthening drought, the city of Raleigh has targeted homeowners almost exclusively, restricting when and how often they can water lawns, wash cars and scrub their siding. Homeowners use about 70 percent of Raleigh's water.

Meanwhile, businesses and people who have new homes, lawns or landscaping and buy a $50 permit can carry on as usual. The city has issued more than 700 such permits since August, including 84 luxury homes on display in this year's Parade of Homes tour.

In Durham, the city issues water-use licenses, but only if a business or organization can show that it will reduce overall water use by 30 percent. Cary's water system offers free new-lawn permits that exempt a customer from water restrictions for three weeks. Cary has no restrictions on commercial water use.

PARDON? No restrictions on commercial water use? Homeowners being able to buy "passes" to water their lawns? WTH is the city going to do with all that money when the water runs OUT? Mulch it and tell people to scatter it on their YARDS to keep it green? Why are car dealerships still washing cars? Why do people still care about having a green lawn? Why are cities allowing this kind of tremendous waste to occur in this time of DIRE DROUGHT?

To make this personal: How can my pitiful 12 gallons a day of savings stand up to this opened vein of foolishness?

It's mind-boggling, it's sickening, it's frustrating, and it's irritating. Every single time I see a sprinkler going full blast I grit my teeth. It's an obvious single-finger salute to the rest of us, the small folk who are collecting shower runoff to water plants, the ones who are turning off the taps while we scrub our teeth or dishes, thoe ones who are taking shorter showers, worrying about the future, trying to steward this region of dunderheads into the next rainy season.

IF the rainy season comes. It might not get here on time, you know. Why, in 1945, there was no rain of significance until February. February! February is a month after Falls Lake, our reservoir, is slated to dry out.

Who going to save the water supply once there's no water to save? My 12 gallons a day will seem like liquid gold then, I'm sure.

No wonder Kermit is bleary.

Or is he just drying out?

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