Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bob Dunning: Tips for saving water are overflowing


From page A2 | April 21, 2013 | 1 Comment

Ever the civic-minded soul, my friend Sue has taken pen in hand to offer tips to her fellow Davisites on how to weather the surface water storm that is about to assault our pocketbooks.

She is not the first. I have in front of me a stack of suggestions from well-meaning Davisites (redundancy mine), all intent on adding that tiny nugget of wisdom that may make the difference between filet mignon or chuck steak at the family dinner table.

Because I actually understand the complicated rate structure coming our way after writing about it for 4,382 consecutive days over the past 12 years, I am not afraid. I have already begun to fill our 175,000-gallon underground storage tank with the very cheap water available from the city masters in April in anticipation of the incredibly high prices the city ultimately will charge us in the so-called “summer” months of May through October.

And never mind that days are longer and temperatures warmer at the end of April than they are at the end of October.  April, according to the city meteorologist, is “winter” and October is “summer.” And that’s just all there is to it.

Even if 175,000 gallons is not enough to see us through the endless summer, our residential lot actually shares a boundary with no fewer than five other homes, and I’m now in the process of collecting the vacation schedules of all five neighbors so I can “borrow” their garden hose when they are out of town and not using the water anyway. The city, after all, continues to charge a “fixed” amount for water every month even when you’re out of town, so someone had better get some use out of it.

Now, how do you get your neighbor’s vacation schedule? Easy. Just send one of the kids to knock on the front door, offering to collect the mail, pick up the newspaper off the driveway and even feed the cat while they’re gone. For free. Just tell them it’s part of the “community service” component from your local elementary school and they’ll be so impressed. Works every time.

But back to Sue, who claims that “Perhaps we just haven’t been thinking about water costs correctly.”

Speak for yourself, Sue. As you can see, I’ve spent considerable time and energy on this and am ready for whatever the city wishes to throw my way.

“If we employ Obama’s new ‘chained CPI’ that is being proposed for Social Security, we don’t have a problem.”

Don’t get me started on the chained CPI, my friend. Those people who have been paying into Social Security for the past 50 years don’t deserve to be slapped around in their retirement, given that the average Social Security check is paltry to begin with.

“The chained CPI concept says that we will just substitute a cheaper product if a product price increases, so we don’t need as much in the way of cost of living adjustments for our Social Security benefits.”

The clever devils. What will they think of next?

“If we substitute dry shampoo for showers, we won’t need to use as much water.”

Sue then includes a dry shampoo recipe passed on from her great-grandmother in North Dakota that features such grooming essentials as corn starch, rice flour, lemon oil and arrowroot powder, all of which I have been using for years in an attempt to regrow hair so I actually have something to shampoo.

“Simply mix together, stirring rigorously for about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour into a salt shaker. Then shake directly onto roots or place in hands and rub into the root area. Brush to blend, distributing it evenly before styling as usual. Add in two tablespoons of cocoa powder for dark hair.”

I’m honestly not sure whether to bathe with this stuff or heat it in the microwave and have it for dinner.

“When people catch on and switch to homemade dry shampoo, the city will have to come back and raise our rates to cover the fixed costs of paying off the bonds and our costs for operating and maintaining our groundwater and surface water systems.”

At which point we’ll all move to Woodland anyway.

— Reach Bob Dunning at


Discussion | 1 comment

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  • Tawny Y.April 21, 2013 - 10:20 pm

    Davisites in all their wisdom have voted to tax themselves for "improved" water quality. As someone on a very limited income (we are a military family) we have already cut out most luxuries from our budget...there isn't really any fat to cut, and now we are going to have water costs we can't afford. No matter how the city paints the "necessity" of it, some families do not have the additional funds to pay for this, no matter how wonderful it will be. Why aren't we requiring grey water systems in all new construction, and other lower cost ways of reducing water usage?

    Reply | Report abusive comment


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