But I like my long, water wasting hot showers

So I must oppose this.

A state House Democrat announced Tuesday her plans to introduce legislation that would tighten water saving requirements for shower heads, toilets and faucets installed in commercial and residential buildings.

The measure, which was also introduced in 2004, requires water-saving fixtures be installed in all new residential and commercial construction and in renovations of existing plumbing fixtures, said state Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Decatur. The 2004 legislation died in committee.

19 comments

  1. Doug Deal says:

    So what if you are on well water or collect rain water. Do we really want the government to involve itself so intimately into our person grooming, waste removal and bathing habits?

    How about just charging more for water withdrawals from public sources?

  2. ondichliberty88 says:

    Rep. Karla Drenner may be on to something. We are in desperate times when it comes to water consumption. If water saving fixtures can save water. It will help Georgia be better prepared next time this happens with a drought and the Army Corp of Engineers. We need more rain or in January Lake Lanier will be drained.

  3. Jmac says:

    Do we really want the government to involve itself so intimately into our person grooming, waste removal and bathing habits?

    But they wouldn’t be. This is nothing more than requiring the use of low-flow shower heads or low-flow toilets. It’s like requiring a smoke detector in a business. Or having health inspections for food establishments.

  4. Doug Deal says:

    Jmac,

    So then it is fine for you for the government to specify what times my lights can be on or off, how high or low I set my thermostat, what foods I eat, how much time I spend watching television and every other preference and habit I may have as a supposed free individual?

    After all, it is only requiring manufactures to not allow lamps to light after 10 PM, or A/C and heating unit manufacturers to throttle cooling and heating as temperature “extremes” are exceeded, or requiring an inspection at checkout at the supermarket to make sure everything is within the approved limits. No intrusion at all.

    I bet most Americans would like the government to stay out of our toilets and our showers. Of course you big intrusive government types know that Uncle Sam knows best.

  5. jsm says:

    “How about just charging more for water withdrawals from public sources?”

    Doug, well water is essentially from a ‘public source’ as well. It just happens to flow under the well-owner’s property. Ground water is connected with lakes and rivers that feed municipal water supplies and, during a drought, can diminish or dry up just the same.

    Regarding the question to Jmac about thermostats, lights, etc., municipal power ultimately belongs to government and should be equally available to everyone. If municipal power were scarce, then government would have a valid reason to control how much people use to protect its universal availability. In that case, you’d need to produce your own power to achieve total freedom from government intrusion.

    As I understand it, Drenner’s legislation controls installation of fixtures in new construction or renovation projects. It isn’t going to have the water police visiting your house to check the faucets. Since there are low flow fixtures available now that perform as well as their higher flow predecessors, we need to mandate their use. Water is a shared resource, which means this would fit under the “promote the general welfare” provision of the Constitution.

  6. Jmac says:

    So then it is fine for you for the government to specify what times my lights can be on or off, how high or low I set my thermostat, what foods I eat, how much time I spend watching television and every other preference and habit I may have as a supposed free individual?

    Well, I wouldn’t be, but I also think you’re presenting an apples-and-oranges situation here. Requiring the use of low-flow shower heads in new construction is vastly different than requiring when your lights go out, is it not?

    I take it you would prefer an incentive-based system then (which, to be honest, I typically prefer more often than not)?

  7. Doug Deal says:

    jmac,

    I would prefer a system that charges users for the amount of water consumed, whether they are a car wash, household user, business, farmer or waterpark.

    I do not want to judge whether flow rate x is sufficient for my neighbors shower or flush toilet, and I do not want them to judge mine. If water is scarce, charge large fees for withdrawal from public supply (defined as rives, resevoirs, etc).

    The public utilities would then be forced to pass that on to their customers, who would then start making choices about whether watering the lawn or taking 30 minute showers 4 times a day is worth the investment. $200 a month water bills will encourage people to do things to reduce usage.

  8. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    Your “solutions” is for government bureaucrats to decide what each and every individual should be doing as if everyone would be effected in the same way.

    Market forces provide the most efficient way to distribute scarce resources. People do not hoard expensive commodities; they hoard artificially low-priced scarce commodities. This leads to extreme shortages, which leads to more hoarding.

    If there was a famine, and the government told supermarkets that food could not be raised in price to correspond to the scarcity, what would happen? Everyone would go to the supermarket to buy every loaf of bread and every can of beans that they could afford, whether they needed it or not.

    If the prices were raised significantly, people would not be able to buy as much, and also they would have to make choices about what they actually need. The higher prices and profit motive would also encourage outsiders with a surplus to do whatever they can to get goods to that market to make a profit. This is a GOOD thing. It is why capitalism works, and why we fought a cold war for 40 years.

  9. jsm says:

    Doug, I agree with you regarding market forces and capitalism. However, when applied to the issue of water usage, the market is not promoting fixtures that use less water. Most people don’t even know that they can buy a simple aerator to put on their bathroom sinks that will allow less flow while accomplishing the same hand-rinsing and toothbrush-wetting results. Builders typically buy the cheapest pieces they can get by with, and homeowners only change them for aesthetic reasons.

    Once builders are required to install lower flow faucet aerators, along with low-flow toilets and shower heads, the market will follow as demand for the higher-flowing units goes away. This has happened for the last 40+ years as manufacturers have developed technology to evacuate waste from toilet bowls with less and less water flow. Had the market waited for a crisis shortage, we’d be hurting much worse for water right now.

    I don’t like government intrusion anymore than you, but I understand that there are rare cases in which government has good reason to mandate a resource-saving measure. The bill in question simply tells manufacturers that plumbers in Georgia will be buying and installing low-flow fixtures. These products are currently available, and manufacturers will have continued incentive to improve low-flow designs.

  10. modcon says:

    The market does not promote water saving fixtures because the price of the water itself is artificially low relative to the supply. If the price of water were set by the market fewer people would be willing to pay the cost of using a fancy spa-style shower for 30 minutes every morning.

  11. Doug Deal says:

    modcon,

    I agree. And people should be able to use a spa type if they are willing to pay the extra money. jsm seems to support homogenization for the good of the state.

    If the cost of water was higher, it would be economical to even buy it from people who have a surplus.

    Why is it that people think they can outsmart economics?

  12. jsm says:

    “jsm seems to support homogenization for the good of the state.”

    Kind of a far-reaching generalization, don’t ya think?

    How much does well water cost, Doug? Throw some economics at that. You gonna pump it up and sell off your surplus to others whose wells you have dried up? How would you store it and transfer it to buyers?

    I agree with you and modcon that the price of water service will affect people’s use patterns. Do you think we should go to an AGL type system, since there is only one water supply grid in each community?

    I’m just trying to say that low-flow fixtures are not being considered by most people as a tool to help them decrease use. People are talking about shorter showers, not running water in the sink while brushing teeth, etc. These are good ways to use less water, but when coupled with fixtures that use more efficient flow characteristics, the effect could be much greater. Since builders don’t pay the utility bills after you buy a house, they don’t give a rip about the efficiency of anything they install. What would you recommend to move the builder market toward lower flow plumbing fixtures?

  13. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    There are many ways to turn water into a commodity, but they all require that it be priced according to market forces. If needed, water could be pumped in, like electricty is shared across the grid.

    Doing such a thing seems expensive now, but if water was priced at a more realistic levels, profit motivated people would find a way to do it. Right now, there is little to encourage innovated solutions to water problems, just rationing and the usual government mandates.

    Also, although they are great and adequate for sinks, low flow fixtures are a disater for showers. I have never had an adequate shower in a low flow shower.

    Forcing everyone to comply to your personal standard of what is acceptable is just as wrong in this case as it is for health care, diet, or whatever else.

  14. jsm says:

    You might be surprised if you Google “low flow shower heads.” There are lots of different designs to choose from now–not just the cheap-o aerating type in the hotel shower.

  15. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    There may be one out there, but I have yet to find one. My current shower head has a regulator valve on it, so I can open it up full blast or turn it down to nearly off, I bet I use less water than “low flow” people, but I actually enjoy my life, and go to work without shampoo residue in my hair.

  16. modcon says:

    jsm,
    I think the bottom line is that most people are not going to change their shower heads just so they can have a warm fuzzy feeling about saving water (or holier than thou, or what ever you people get from it) Most people need a more compelling reason for them to change there water usage habits. I suspect a $300 water bill would do it for a lot of people. Those that don

Comments are closed.