Be warned that this post contains some ranting comments regarding our water company's policies. Although the language is tame, the mood is grumpy and might be infectious.
We received a 5-page document from the water company last week that described the new classifications for drought conditions and the respective rules we must follow during those conditions. The letter pointed the reader to the North Carolina Utilities Commission website, which explains the various drought classifications and outlines the rules for water usage under each condition. The website then directs the reader to The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory website to find out the current drought conditions for each county.
We live in Buncombe county, and we have received a fair amount of rain this year. I expected the website to inform us that the drought restrictions from last year had been lifted, but it actually delivered a message entirely to the contrary. I was floored to learn that we are considered to be in an Extreme Drought right now, and the rules we have to follow under these conditions would lead to the quick demise of my gardens if followed. First, I can hand water my flowers any day, but only between 8pm and 8am. I refuse to water at night. Diseases such as powdery mildew are caused by watering in the evening. Plants need the mid-afternoon sun to dry their leaves and keep them healthy. Furthermore, I am permitted to spray irrigate my garden only once a week between 10pm on Wednesday and 1am on Thursday. Are they nuts? Do they think I want to stay up all night watering my garden only to lose the entire crop to a fungus caused by evening watering? I guess alternatively I could stay up all night watering the entire garden by hand any night of the week!
You can probably tell from my tone that they can kiss my butt, and I will let them know this if provoked any further. Water rates with this company are out of control. The lowest water/sewer bill you can hope to pay in a month is $72.50, because there is a minimum usage charge for everyone. If your water service is enabled, but you are out of the country and never use a drop of it, you are going to pay $72.50. $72.50 is more than I pay for electricity most months! Even during the height of Summer watering, we barely use more gallons than the minimum charge allows, sometimes seeing bills as high as $76. I don't feel my water usage warrants such drastic measures as they are imposing, and I refuse to follow these rules.
Interestingly, I see nothing documenting what happens to people who break the rules. Maybe we'll find out soon as I flaunt my hose in front of the meter reader next time he shows his face in this neighborhood. I might even squirt him on the side of the head if he's lucky. On second thought, I'll probably aim for the crotch.