Star-Telegram editorial on this subject. http://www.star-tele...er-weakens.html
This seems to be consistent with the S-T previous opinions on the topic and mirrors the editorial they published when Arlington rejected permanent restrictions a few years ago.
I was at the meeting Tuesday. There were a lot of figures tossed around during the discussion that didn't have any documentation to go with them. The one that sat me up in my chair was from councilman Espino, he said that since 1999 water use had declined by 23%. I don't know if that is true, but if it is, think of how many people have moved here since then and we still had a decline in usage? To me, it was even stranger that, after making that statement, he said we need to implement this plan now.
The biggest problem with this new regulation is the draconian enforcement section. I think that is what the 5 council people that voted for the postponement were most concerned about. The city can invite themselves onto your property to inspect your sprinklers. Councilman Zimmerman didn't like having neighbors turning in neighbors. The big question was who will enforce these measures? It was said code enforcement doesn't have enough people to do it. Will the police take on this responsibility?
City staff was asked about making some changes to the enforcement section, but the staff seemed to be against that. The mayor wanted to pass the ordinance and deal with the enforcement part after the fact. There was mention of a report that has to be filed with the state by May 1 and that is why some see a sense of urgency to get this done. Even if they had passed this Tuesday, on Wednesday the same twice a week restrictions we have been under for almost the last year would still be in effect. The only difference would be more opportunities for bigger fines. As far as watering goes, as long as we are in the stage 1 restrictions, this won't generate any more conservation than we are doing now. In fact I expect we may go to stage 2 if rain keeps up the way it has. Send the report to the state and tell them you are continuing the same plan for the time being.
Mention was made of all the people coming here in the next 40 years and the need to save water so allow TRWD to put off expensive infrastructure improvements and developing new sources of water and storage. My experience is that anything you build today is going to cost less than in 10 or 20 years. If it takes 20 years to permit and build a highway I'm sure it takes that long to build a new reservoir. There isn't any time left to put off new infrastructure.
It was pointed out that places that had enacted restrictions are in worse shape than we are. Councilwomen Bivens said San Antonio and gone to restrictions back in the 80's and were not any better off now. Maybe the folks in charge of developing infrastructure thought year round restrictions bought them some time and they didn't feel any urgency on their part.
I say send this back to staff, fix the enforcement section, take a look at the Woodard Plan, make it more about saving water than punishing citizens and building an enforcement infrastructure. Bring it up again when that is done. There isn't an urgent need to change anything while we are under stage 1 or 2.