I’d like to live in a city where I can water whenever I want. I don’t live in that kind of city.
In an effort to conserve scarce resources, the city of Austin, like many cities across the country, imposes draconian water restrictions during the hot summer months. In Austin’s case, we’re now in “stage 2″ water restrictions, which means I can only legally water my brown lawn overnight, once a week.
The restriction level changes periodically throughout the seasons, and it’s not well communicated. Instead, city vehicles troll neighborhoods photographing “violators,” and send them either a warning, or a citation with a fine.
I already pay for my water. Last month’s water bill was about $200. In a free market, the short supply of water would drive up its price, which it already has. Also, the water usage fee schedules are already graduated to penalize those who use the most water.
Instead of issuing a $475 fine if I want to water my lawn twice a week, why doesn’t the City calculate a universally fair, level fee schedule that complements the scarcity of our precious water, and let people use as much as they can afford, without fear of inadvertently violating an ordinance?