January is usually the hardest time of year for me – it’s usually dark and cold to the point where I get really stiff, really sleepy, really de-motivated. I must admit, this sun is great, warms my bones. It’s nice to be able to leave the apartment windows open, and we haven’t touched the button on our heater for about a week.
But, I can’t feel good about it. It’s so dry outside, my fingers are cracked all the way around. My lips were so chapped the other day the skin was peeling off in strings. My sinuses are hard and closed when I wake up in the morning. Oh yeah Baby, we got a drought.
I remember the 1970’s like it was yesterday sometimes. We had a drought AND a gas shortage. In a teenage mind they link together – as if oil dries up seasonally like water. We watched gas prices go from less than a dollar in the early seventies, about double by 1972, and then by 2000 we seemed to hit $3 a gallon and that was that. That seems odd when for years during the 1960’s it stayed consistently well under a dollar. They started to manipulate the price with politics – the American people are so stupid – we didn’t realize, we didn’t get ALL our oil from the Arab emirates. Even at that time, we were producing almost half our own oil domestically, and buying large qualities from Canada and Venezuela, and other Latin American countries. But the oil companies took advantage of the hysteria created by problems in Iran, the hostage crisis, and later, the invasion of Kuwait, to artificially raise oil prices. And here we are today, none the wiser.
So none the wiser, in fact, that we are currently allowing the water companies to do the same thing. Yes we are in a drought. If you are new to California, you might want to reconsider your decision to move here – we have these droughts on a fairly regular basis within a 50 year cycle. It’s not global warming, it’s called, “winter drought,” and John Bidwell mentioned it as soon as he came here.
Try living somewhere they don’t have winter drought. Or maybe we should move into a Geo dome and become our own God(dess). In other places, they complain about too much rain! I watched an episode of “This Old House” once, they were on vacation in Florida. A man had called them about excessive moisture in his garage – his shop tools would rust all the time. They sealed his garage and put in an air conditioner to eliminate the humidity. A friend of mine who lived in Missouri for a spell complained that “everything molds here, I can’t leave my shoes under the bed…” She reported moldy spots behind pictures on the wall, moisture stains in the concrete floors, etc. So, give me my Winter drought. Rot I don’t need.
I do like my outdoor landscaping though, and I’m starting to wonder how many of the redwoods on my property and around my neighborhood are going to make it through this one. I’ve already watched lawns and other landscape die all over town, the results not of the drought but of the spike in Cal Water rates. They are showing us no mercy, and it has more to do with their corporate greed than any drought.
I will say again, read your water bill. You will find the WRAM charge – “water rate adjustment mechanism“. Don’t be a putz – read that again – “water rate adjustment mechanism.” Aren’t you getting it? This is a penalty that Cal Water and other private water companies are allowed to use by a totally toothless, bought-off California Public Utilities Commission, to raise our water bill when we conserve water. The more you conserve, the bigger your WRAM charge is, look over a few months worth of your bills and see what I mean.
I’m going to be talking about this alot in the coming months. I get distracted with terrible personal tragedies and daily emergencies, but this remains at the center of my mind because every month I feel like Cal Water comes onto my property and takes rude advantage of my family. They pump the water from under our feet and then charge us not for our water usage, but for the cost of their outrageous bureaucratic salaries and fully paid benefits and pension. I know, I complain about the city employees paying so little toward their pensions – Cal Water management pays NOTHING. We pay it, every cent, toward salaries as high as $350,000 a year with 70 percent at age 55.
I know, we have to conserve water because we can’t afford the rates, but I want people to stop buy Cal Water’s line of bullshit and help me with the upcoming letters campaign that we need to undertake in order to get our rights back. Stay tuned. And get your rain barrels in place, just in case we get any rain, start thinking alternative water sources.
As for that suggestion in today’s ER letters section to re-capture and re-use washing machine water – NO NO NO – buy a front loader, they use a third as much water and get your clothes cleaner. Or just stop washing your laundry so much, wear those jeans a few times, wear an apron over your clothes, wear an old smock when you’re doing something messy. And tell your kids to take better care of their clothes so you don’t have to wash four outfits a day. THINK!