Recently water meters came up at city council yet again.
In that discussion the ‘fact’ that water consumption in Grand Forks has actually decreased since 2007 was pointed out. I’ve heard this before and since.
Is it true? Yes it is.
Look at the list of consumption values. This list was contributed to the online discussion on Facebook by one of the people opposed to the water meters (thanks Donna).
2004: 2,534,092 m³
2005: 2,579,769 m³
2006: 3,512,464 m³
2007: 3,172,466 m³
2008: 1,780,184 m³
2009: 1,859,858 m³
2011: 1,966,208 m³
2012: 1,944,360 m³
2013: 1,749,186 m³
2014: 1,633,222 m³
Okay, Pop Quiz: What came to an end in 2007?
Well that’s the year the Pope and Talbot stopped and so did Canpar. One was resurrected but the other not.
Canpar made particle board and apparently used quite a bit of water in that process. Between them they employed a few hundred people.
That’s paycheques that families need. When those paycheques cease those families often move to where paycheques can be found and that means out of town. How many families left town when those two plants stopped? How much water did they consume?
Globally Canada is one of the biggest per capita users of water as a nation and this part of the country is right up there yet we encounter attitudes about endless water whenever actual actions like water restrictions and meters come up.
Well we don’t have endless water and we don’t have endless money either.
Demolishing a program like the residential water meter one is not cost effective. Most if not all was to be paid without borrowing or raising taxes using money we already had.
Pushing for opt-outs and other mechanisms to rip its guts out or blunt its effectiveness just puts the money and effort already spent in jeopardy of being more government waste.
Haranguing and hectoring council so they’re distracted and ineffective and the city is tied up in legal wrangling is wasting tax dollars that all of us who pay them contribute.
But not all who are in that fight have any ‘skin in the game’ – some who spearhead the fight do not even live in the city. If the ‘fight’ causes taxes to rise, and it will (of that there is no doubt), it is literally no cost to those safely snipe from outside city limits.
And when it was announced that the Snow Pack was only 1% of what it normally is and Stage 2 Watering Restrictions should be considered those who talk endless water complained loudly “You will my kill garden!”. I’m sure I could find some who would still argue that water is their ‘God given right’ and no one has the right to stop them using as much as they want whenever they want.
Thinking that way, acting that way – maybe that is why we are amongst the most water consuming people on the whole planet? Get over it! There are hundreds of wells in the valley and not all of them are inside the city bounds … over 500 actually(1). And the City Of Grand Forks does not control most of those.
The watering restrictions do not prevent you from hand watering your garden whenever you want. Using sprinkler systems on the other hand has restrictions.
Unless God says otherwise … or is that being too critical?
Does one person’s claim to a religious right to a finite resource trump society’s need to manage that resource wisely?
What about those who claim no ‘right’ to endless water but ask that the resource not be wasted? Are their ‘rights’ subservient to people with religion?
I’m being a bit facetious here positing a hypothetical but I use it so you can see how off track this can get … as it often seems to happen while having a discussion about water meters. Whether it’s rights, RF / EMF is cancer causing, alternative metering systems, minutiae of technical reports of studies or secret government programs to take control of our lives the discussion is steered into a detail or fear that might just possibly bring the whole thing to a halt.
It’s time to learn to live within our means and be proper stewards of a finite resource. OR get mired in controversy and drown in legal costs.