Water shaming is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it, which is why we’re stockpiling a mess of moldy, moss-covered brickbats we discovered in the bottom tier of an illegal fountain filled with unrecirculating water.
Pismo Beach, which led the county in per capita water use for the month of September, was on our short list of brickbat nominees. According to the State Water Resources Control Board, residents of Pismo used 175 gallons per day per person. Cambrians, on the other hand, used just 40 gallons per day — less than any other California community tracked by the state water board. Amazing!
At the other end of the spectrum, the San Diego County community of Rancho Santa Fe led the state in per capita water use, at a whopping 584 gallons per person. In case you’re not familiar with Rancho Santa Fe, it’s an enclave of swanky homes with lush, expansive, very green lawns.
Believe it or not, Rancho Santa Fe has been attempting to conserve — sort of. Among other restrictions, the local irrigation district has limited landscape watering to three days a week, and washing down hard surfaces — including sidewalks, driveways and tennis courts — is prohibited. But according to this message on the irrigation district’s website, those restrictions aren’t having much of an effect:
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“Despite the extreme drought situation, local water use is rising rather than falling. February was an unusually dry and hot month, and the amount of water consumed during this month was the highest it has been in the past decade!”
So step — or should we say swim? — aside, Pismo Beach. This week, there can only be one winner of the slimy brickbat award, and if our calculations are correct, Rancho Santa Fe has you beat by 409 gallons.
Fingers crossed for Lucia Mar deal
Great news out of South County: It appears there will be no teachers strike after all and for that, we’re delivering a backpack of bouquets to the entire Lucia Mar community.
Teachers, who have been working without a contract since June 30, authorized a strike last month. The district had begun preparations for a walkout — including advertising for substitute teachers — but on Wednesday, administrators announced a tentative agreement with teachers.
The proposal has yet to be ratified; teachers are expected to vote on it sometime next week. Given how far apart the two sides were at one point — teachers initially asked for a 10 percent raise, while the district offered 2 percent — it’s a relief to learn that even a tentative deal has been struck that gives teachers 6 percent over two years. But we won’t uncross our fingers until after the vote.
New animal shelter is welcome news
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors earns a bouquet of cattails and dogwood blossoms for authorizing a new animal shelter, instead of trying to eke more life out of the current, rundown shelter that’s way past its prime.
The existing shelter, built in about 1975, is cold, cramped and depressing to the point where some would-be animal adopters avoid it altogether. On top of that, it’s built atop an old landfill that’s sinking.
A new shelter will cost an estimated $10 million, while repairing and improving the existing building could run nearly $4 million. It’s estimated that another $5.5 million to $6 million in improvements to the old shelter would be needed in 10 to 15 years.
Pouring more money into an outdated facility would be financial folly. Supervisors made the right choice, both from an economic standpoint and for the sake of the homeless animals under the county’s care.