Item 5c on tonight’s City Council agenda is a memo from Commissioner Moylan clarifying his comments about lawn watering. From the memo:
The alleged link between lawn watering and streamflow is one that has been played up by river advocates for the past two decades. They view lawn watering as a wasteful abuse of water resources that is employed during a time of year when streamflow is lowest. Unfortunately for ratepayers, it is not just environmental zealots that share this view. …
Worcester receives significant revenue from water used by customers for lawn irrigation. The typical difference in water use between the winter months and summer months is about 3 million gallons per day (MGD). Of this, it is estimated that 75% goes toward lawn watering by customers. In a typical summer at current water rates this usage produces $1.2 million in revenue for the water enterprise. Through regulatory limits on lawn watering even a modest 20% decrease in water used for irrigation would translate into lost revenue of some $240,000.
Yes, contrary to rational belief, folks who water their lawns in August are not wasting water — they’re making an invaluable contribution to the local water system’s budget!
People who don’t water their lawns aren’t conserving natural resources — they’re costing the city revenue dollars!
I’d like to make the following suggestions to maximize revenue potential:
- Ensure that automatic sprinklers are pointed to sidewalks for maximum inefficiency
- Install high-flow leaky toilets in all new housing projects
- Anyone with a brown lawn at the height of the summer should be fined $100 for not watering
- Impose a special fee for anyone who composts in their backyard — if you’re not paying the trash bag fee, you’re freeloading off the rest of us!
- The city should stop selling rain barrels — why let the competition get a leg up?
Any other suggestions for how to bring in revenue while showing those urban-mythmakers that water conservation is for sissies?