February 16, 1988
Board of Directors
East Bay Municipal Utility District
P. O. Box 24055
Oakland, California 94623
Thank you for keeping me informed via your recent pamphlet, EBMUD: Quality and System Security. Here are my comments:
1. This appeal is a thinly veiled plea for more water for big developers in Contra Costa and other counties. By your own figures, your existing reservoirs hold enough water for 4 months of normal use. It is obvious that there is a HUGE amount of waste in water use, particularly in showers (I only use water to get wet and to rinse off; most people leave the water running throughout their entire shower), inefficient toilets, and in the watering of our absurdly wasteful LAWNS. Let's say that the waste is 75%. Then those 4 months extend to 16 months, which is just about equal to your MAXIMUM (read: "exaggerated") time to repair the pipelines.
2. You should use PG&E as your role model. A few years back, they said the same thing you are saying, about electricity (there was a book written about it; I forget the title). Then a few guys, with some simple calculations, proved that CONSERVATION alone would take care of all of our electricity needs far into the next century. They dropped all of their plans for new power plants, and have been talking about conservation ever since, as if they invented it. You only talk about conservation, if at all, when there is a drought scare. Are you really so short-sighted? The time for conservation is NOW, before we destroy any more wildlife (including human) and plant habitat. The very fact that you build aqueducts in precarious places shows how environmentally far out on that limb we are. Nature is merely telling you gently that YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MINDS! How will covering all of our recreation lands with water improve our quality of life? About as much as covering it all with freeways.
Let Blackhawk and everyone else replace their lawns and golf courses with native species that don't need watering. Since I stopped watering and cutting my lawn, it now looks better than ever. Stop trying to be another Chamber of Commerce, and protect our precious resources, as you are supposed to do.
The only "long-term security" is in conservation, as the Indians proved long ago.
Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.