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View Full Version : Get out of my shower, Mr. President


rfrobison
07-26-2010, 06:16 AM
OK, I'm probably going to stir up a hornet's nest with this one, but doesn't the government have anything better to do with its time than stick its nose into people's bathrooms?WSJ article (http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/110153/a-water-fight-over-luxury-showers)

Now, I'm all for water conservation, but this is the typical "command and control" approach so beloved of bureacrats that will do little or nothing to solve any real problem. People will simply buy "illegal" showerheads, and/or find plumbers to make the appropriate fix.

If Washington were serious about water conservation it would use this magic little thing called the price mechanism and stop subsidizing farmers to grow rice in the middle of the San Joachin Valley. Or, it could suggest that cities set water tarriffs at a price that actually reflects the cost of providing it.

These guys are all wet.

bjkeefe
07-26-2010, 09:41 AM
OK, I'm probably going to stir up a hornet's nest with this one, but doesn't the government have anything better to do with its time than stick its nose into people's bathrooms?WSJ article (http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/110153/a-water-fight-over-luxury-showers)

Now, I'm all for water conservation, but this is the typical "command and control" approach so beloved of bureacrats that will do little or nothing to solve any real problem. People will simply buy "illegal" showerheads, and/or find plumbers to make the appropriate fix.

If Washington were serious about water conservation it would use this magic little thing called the price mechanism and stop subsidizing farmers to grow rice in the middle of the San Joachin Valley. Or, it could suggest that cities set water tarriffs at a price that actually reflects the cost of providing it.

These guys are all wet.

I'm torn on this one.

Certainly I think people should be allowed to enjoy luxuries if they're willing to pay for them. As a personal take on this specific issue, I find a low-flow shower head one of the most annoying parts of trying to live a more environmentally responsible lifestyle. I am also suspicious that they don't actually save that much, because I feel like I stand under them for appreciably longer than I do "regular" shower heads. And yes, while I was living in California, and there were prohibitions against car-washing and lawn-watering, and social pressures of the "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" sort, I too would think about how much water was involved with growing rice north of where I lived.

On the other hand ...

Using water for agriculture does not seem like such a horrible thing to me. As I understand it, central CA has about the best soil and climate in the world for growing certain kinds of food, and if all it takes is adding water, then it's hard to be too against that. I grant that there are some cockamamie subsidies out there, but generally, I would assume that over long periods of time, specific foods are grown where it makes sense to grow them. Therefore, it might be specious to compare household use to agricultural use, and it might make more sense to consider how to improve savings in each area separately.

Second, it is useful for people to have a reminder in their daily lives about the need to conserve. I use the word need very rarely, but I do believe it applies here. We cannot continue living the way we live, with as many people as we have, in perpetuity. I think using a low flow shower head is one of those places where every little bit helps, and I think the psychological benefits may be even greater.

Third, that article suggests something which is probably just class-based resentment on my part, but nonetheless, I get bugged when people take the opposite tack to suggestions/requirements that they consume less, and make it a point to consume ostentatiously. At some point, being able to buy something just to waste it gets out of the range of what I am able to agree with (or merely excuse) under my earlier expressed view that people should be allowed to pay for luxuries if they want to. Somehow, I am unable to get the vision out of my mind of RedState commenters chortling on Earth Day that they have every window open and every light burning in their house, the AC going, and the Hummer idling in the driveway. (True story, and not just that one site.) Ultimately, wanton usage of any resource by a few ends up being paid for by others.

Finally, I am instinctively turned off by hysteria like your post/thread title. Even leaving aside that you do not live in their jurisdiction, it does not seem to me from that article as though Obama's Jackbooted Water Usage Police Thugs are going to be banging on the door while you're soaping up your johnson; e.g.,

[The DOE's general counsel, Scott Blake] Harris says only manufacturers are subject to the new rules; homeowners aren't directly affected. Companies will have time to adjust product lines, and most consumers won't feel any effect, he says. "Ninety-five percent of us use normal showerheads," he adds.

I also have little sympathy for your attitude of "if we outlaw wasteful shower heads, only outlaws will own wasteful shower heads." In reality, most people do not break the law, particularly not if they have to work hard to do it. That some people will scavenge old shower heads and install them in their private houses is not an argument against passing a law if it is otherwise good, or provides a net benefit. Most people won't, and no hotels, motels, public gyms, or schools will, either. So, if you get 90-99% compliance, you might very well be better off.

In the end, I suppose that I am here: I am sympathetic to government participation in programs that would strongly encourage water conservation, but I probably could be persuaded that rather than outright bans, it might be better to put a tax on, say, non-compliant shower heads, or water usage above some threshold. It would seem fair to me, for example, that I be allowed to have a luxurious shower in return for having a drought-resistant garden instead of a lawn, and a dusty car in my driveway, for example.

Starwatcher162536
07-26-2010, 10:16 AM
This is one of those things better left at the state level. For large swaths of the US water conservation is not really all that needed.

bjkeefe
07-26-2010, 01:12 PM
This is one of those things better left at the state level. For large swaths of the US water conservation is not really all that needed.

I don't agree. First, water problems do not conform well with state lines. They are at least regional, and their ripple effects can affect the entire country. Or at least portions of it larger than state-sized. Second, different states are closely connected by water use, whether it involves buying and selling water, or arguing about upstream versus downstream, or probably a lot of other issues, so it seems as though there's some worth in having a higher authority/adjudicator.

On a somewhat related note, you and/or others may find this post* of interest: "It's getting warmer in here - and drier (http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/its-getting-hot-in-here)." Here's the lede:

A new report (http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/watersustainability/) from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) offers a mixed picture of how climate change will affect Western water supplies. Some places will see more moisture, most will see less. For the majority of the region, sustainability of water resources is set to become a serious problem.
==========

* It's from The GOAT Blog (http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat), a new2me site that looks worth checking out at greater length. which I was led (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2010/07/line-of-day-2010-07-26.html) to by Thomas Levenson, if you care.

rfrobison
07-26-2010, 07:43 PM
Aww, c'mon. The thread title isn't that bad. I never get to try my hand at tabloid in my current position. Besides, it got your attention, did it not?

Ocean
07-26-2010, 11:00 PM
As a personal take on this specific issue, I find a low-flow shower head one of the most annoying parts of trying to live a more environmentally responsible lifestyle...

...or in South America!

I would vote for a time limited shower or one of those showers that don't start running until water is at the desired temperature, but don't mess too much with the flow. Thanks.

TwinSwords
07-26-2010, 11:22 PM
The new interpretation of the existing regulation does not require "low flow showerheads," though, right? My read of the article is that this will only impact "luxury" showerheads that deliver substantially greater flow than the normal showerheads that "ninety-five percent of us use." Some of the discussion in this thread seems to suggest that the regulation is being understood as a new mandate that all consumers use low-flow showerheads, but at least judging from the article, I do not believe that is the case.

AemJeff
07-26-2010, 11:29 PM
...or in South America!

I would vote for a time limited shower or one of those showers that don't start running until water is at the desired temperature, but don't mess too much with the flow. Thanks.

I'm more worried about laws that intrude on personal behavior in deeper ways, like anti-abortion legislation, anti-prostitution, anti-personal drug use, blanket smoking bans, laws intended to make it difficult to use hard currency, etc... Compared to that stuff, showers seem like a benign domain into which busybodies might want to insert themselves.

Ocean
07-26-2010, 11:29 PM
The new interpretation of the existing regulation does not require "low flow showerheads," though, right? My read of the article is that this will only impact "luxury" showerheads that deliver substantially greater flow than the normal showerheads that "ninety-five percent of us use." Some of the discussion in this thread seems to suggest that the regulation is being understood as a new mandate that all consumers use low-flow showerheads, but at least judging from the article, I do not believe that is the case.

I'll go with your interpretation, Twin. No doubt.

Ocean
07-26-2010, 11:31 PM
I'm more worried about laws that intrude on personal behavior in deeper ways, like anti-abortion legislation, anti-prostitution, anti-personal drug use, blanket smoking bans, laws intended to make it difficult to use hard currency, etc... Compared to that stuff, showers seem like a benign domain into which busybodies might want to insert themselves.

I was taking your comment seriously, until the last sentence.

AemJeff
07-26-2010, 11:33 PM
I was taking your comment seriously, until the last sentence.

Sorry - pun intended, but I was serious! I didn't mean to aim the comment directly at you, though - I just happened to hit reply on that comment.

Ocean
07-26-2010, 11:36 PM
Sorry - pun intended, but I was serious! I didn't mean to aim the comment directly at you, though - I just happened to hit reply on that comment.

:)

bjkeefe
07-27-2010, 12:04 AM
Aww, c'mon. The thread title isn't that bad.

I think I have already made my position on that quite clear.

I never get to try my hand at tabloid in my current position.

You never got to be an executioner, either, one would suppose. Let us hope, therefore, that you do not generalize your reasoning.

Besides, it got your attention, did it not?

Speak for me, cute bunny (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=146943#post146943).

;^)