Earlier this week we reported on a water hog in drought-stricken Atlanta who was blithely using 400,000 gallons of water a month to fill the pool in his mansion and keep the grounds just as green and lush as if water was no object. (See Atlanta Water Hog Gets His Fifteen Minutes of Fame.)
Another city struggling with water woes is Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is on the eastern end of a large part of the South that is experiencing a record, prolonged drought. Like many fast-growing cities in the region, Raleigh and its surrounding communities have not kept up with water demand over the years by building new reservoirs, and it is those municipalities that are struggling the most with this drought.
The Curmudgeon's sister, who lives in Raleigh, has been asked to cut back on water use by 50%--that ON TOP of previous reductions. It's thus no surprise that she--and many others in the region--are outraged that the town of Cary, NC--which adjoins Raleigh and shares the same water supply--decided a couple weeks ago to divert 1.2 million gallons of the precious fluid into filling three pools for a new aquatic center.
In one story out of Raleigh, the aquatic center's manager defended the move by saying it only took up one half of one percent of Cary's water needs for a week. That may be true, but think how that sits with a household trying to do its part to save water. The average home uses about 350 gallons of water a day. Reducing that by 50%--which isn't easy--would save 175 gallons per household. So the 1.2 million gallons poured into the Cary pools offset the daily reductions of nearly 7000 households. A lot of folks are likely to say "why bother"?
Dealing with a drought is tough. Most municipalities impose voluntary restrictions at first, and few have the resources to adequately enforce mandatory restrictions. Most people, of course, will pitch in and do their part. In the Raleigh area, that's pretty critical because they are down to roughly three months of water supply, which is a tiny margin.
One good way to deal with those who won't do their part is public opprobrium, which is why the Atlanta water hog is getting his time in the limelight.