I’m skeptical about Kevin McCarty’s plan to draft an emergency ordinance to require special permits for water bottlers. My views pretty much jive with what the Sac Bee editorialized today. I think most people should be wary of government being able to change the rules and apply them retroactively. And I am wary of government changing the rules every time somebody follows the rules and it leads to an outcome they don’t like. When you do that, it should come with an acknowledgment of failure on the part of the government. Instead, this Nestle deal is spun by folks opposing it, including McCarty, as an attack on our resources by the evil Swiss. (I always knew that neutrality thing was a smokescreen.)
Per capita water use in Sacramento is 280 gallons daily, which is high compared to the rest of California. If the Nestle plant uses 80 million gallons annually, that would be about the equivalent of 300 homes. And by the way it is would be much less than the annual consumption of Land Park (the park, not the neighborhood), which is over 110 million gallons.
How about an emergency ordinance requiring the City to conserve? How about requiring the City to water park lawns on a schedule like the rest of us? How about preventing the City from approving new residential build-outs, creating bigger draw on our precious water, in this downward sloping housing market?
Another thing I keep hearing is that Nestle will have a “unlimited access” to the water supply. Unless I’m mistaken, don’t residential water users in Sacramento have unlimited access to the water as well? As long as I don’t waste it on runoff, is there any reason I can’t use as much water as my pipes can handle? In fact, since I pay a flat rate for water, I am probably much more likely to waste it than an industrial user who must pay the meter. That being said, the prices industrial users like Nestle are charged for water do seem drastically low. And again, if that needs to be changed, then it should be acknowledge that this is a failure on the part of government to take care of this resource.
I am however not necessarily convinced that water bottling companies are not evil, in the sense that the industry preys on our predilection for convenience and our stupid bodies’ constant need for water. Stupid human cells! Be more better.
We’ll see tonight whether the City Council wants to pursue this further. Will it be the most controversial local government discussion about water in Sacramento’s history? Probably not. What do you think? Anybody planning on attending/watching the meeting?