Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department bows to water wasters


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Thanks to John K. for the photo.
  • Thanks to John K. for the photo.

I'm concerned about Charlotte's water supply and I fucking hate grass. Here's why: 1) The idea that we need a lawn is a social construct left over from the lord and serf days when only the rich were able to afford grass because it requires so much damn maintenance. Now, in today's entitled society, everybody's got to have grass. Stupid. 2) It requires too much water, and water is too precious to waste. 3) The chemicals we put on grass to make it pretty are horrible for our water supply, and the chemicals infiltrate it every time it rains. We have to pay to clean the water supply before we drink it, dig? 4) Lawn mowers are horrible for air pollution, not to mention all of the expensive gas and oil they require.

So, on the one hand, I'm not upset about the news that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department is raising rates. We tend to take better care of things that cost more, so maybe we will think twice before we leave the sprinkler on all night. Maybe, just maybe, we'll discover how easy and cost effective rain gardens and rain barrels are to install and use. Perhaps we'll stop planting high-maintenance plants and, instead, plant native, drought-resistant plants.

For we average, everyday folks, our rates will likely rise a couple bucks a month. Will that be enough to encourage people to become more aware of how they use (and abuse) our water? Meh. Gas rates are up, and I'm not noticing many people driving less — are you? A writer can dream, though.

Personally, I wish the rates were higher still. I've seen parts of the massive infrastructure in place to clean the water from the Catawba River, get it to our faucets, then pump it back to treatment plants so it can be re-cleaned and returned to the river. That shit's expensive, and we need to take good care of it so it will last for a long time.

That is why, I suppose, I'm so annoyed by the reality that the people who use the most water for things like watering grass aren't going to have to pay more for water. Instead, they'll end up saving roughly $40 per month.

Does that make any damn sense? We're rewarding them for encouraging a ridiculous plant to grow.

OK, so wait: You and I will pay more while maybe becoming more sustainable water users, but the folks who full on waste one of the world's most precious resources will be rewarded ... then everyone will have to pay for the clean up.

Yeah. This is one more example of why I've just about had it with this country. Money rules our government; logic and what's best for the greater community does not.

Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.


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