We’re in a drought, quick, offer rebates for water efficiency


Chance of Rain ponders short-sighted water efficiency programs which only kick in when there’s a drought. When the drought ends, so do attempts at efficiency. Thus, waste is subsidized and lasting efficiencies are rare.

Another 20th century miracle of modern living is being assisted to the scrapheap of time. Yesterday the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced a $500,000 grant to help Southern California homeowners convert to more water-efficient front-loading washing machines.

If treating chronic dryness with a spot of rebates here and a blaze of low-flow toilet retrofits there instead of striving in a systematic way for efficiency seems odd to you, it is. It’s also the way we manage water. The simplest explanation may be that our water system was set up in a way that public money subsidizes waste. When times get tough, we in very small increments subsidize efficiency.