The discussion about Measure P is heating up, and the lead article in The Enterprise on May 16 was no help in understanding the core issue. I believe most long-term residents identify with the ”Green Davis” and “Tree Davis” themes. Green and trees require water. It is largely single-family homes that provide habitat for trees and mature shrubbery. Some of these trees and shrubs of the city are more than 50 years old and could easily live another 50 years. They provide shade in summer, remove greenhouse gases, detoxify the air and provide homes for thousands of birds and bats.
Yet, as the May 16 article points out, the scheduled water rates specifically punish residents who provide for Tree Davis and Green Davis. If you live in an apartment or condominium — and only use water for showers, toilets and drinking — your ccf rate is estimated to be about $5.47. But, if you have a garden and trees — regardless of piling on mulch and conserving water — your rates for the very same water start at an estimated $7.63 per ccf. The discriminatory, penalizing rates will zoom up to many times higher than the $7.63 for those looking after several trees.
The most corrupt aspect of the scheduled plan is not even to allow residents with trees to show how much water they conserve in showers, toilets and drinking by only looking at water use in the months when the green and trees are nurtured through the dry May-October months. Even if one uses less water for showering, and flushes the water-efficient toilet half as much, this cannot enter the equation, because winter water usage will not be recorded.
Does the city of Davis really want to discriminate and punish the folks who plant and care for trees and adult shrubs? I have not yet seen dying trees, but expect some if the scheduled rates stay. Those of us who value the ambiance of Davis neighborhoods and trees see Measure P as offering a chance to make the water rates fair and non-discriminatory — and it’s a vote for trees.
Ben and Lynette Hart