Mike Jacobs Bringing Up Water Issues

In 2004, Democrat Mike Jacobs Karla Drenner introduced legislation to require retrofitting of old plumbing fixtures to new water efficient fixtures. In an email he writes,

25 comments

  1. Chris says:

    I’ll say this again. As long as the price of a gallon of water is fixed and subsidized you’ll never achieve conservation.

    You want people to save water? Then charge them more when it is scarce.

  2. Doug Deal says:

    Good post Farris.

    And Erick, the toilet is fine, my problem is with shower heads. Most of my family have low flow shower heads, and I have yet to meet one that I liked.

  3. SpaceyG says:

    WSB Radio was running spots for Kohler mega-flush toilets just this week. Presumably for the fiber-enriched family. Seems Kohler’s ad cycle has yet to catch-up with any GA drought news. I assume these superduper mega-flush toilets are available at your nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s.

  4. ChuckEaton says:

    Chris-

    I agree as well. It’s a bad recipe when you’ve got short supply and high demand of a commodity, but are still pricing it as if it’s plentiful.

    I like the idea of pricing the first few thousand gallons at a reasonable rate, then exponentially raising the rate as usage goes up. I know some municipalties have experimented with this, but it needs to be used more broadly and the upper rate needs to be higher.

  5. EAVDad says:

    These are all great ideas (especially Chuck’s) but let’s be honest: None of it is going to have a big impact unless it’s absolutely legislated and enforced (something that wouldn’t be too popular with GOPers, right? Wait — Mike Jacobs is a “republican” now, sort of).

    We aren’t going to see real water savings until we get to businesses and corporations who use literally thousands of gallons of water per second. This isn’t an anti-business rant. They need that water to do business. But ultimately, our low-flow shower heads and one ounce toidees aren’t going to make much of a difference.

  6. Chris says:

    I agree that we should subsidize basic water usage, but beyond a gallonage the rate needs to float based on supply and demand.

  7. Clayton says:

    And everyone knows the first thing to do with a new showerhead is pop the plastic restrictor tab out – is that going to be legislated also? Will the potty squad check for tags on our pillows while they are at it?

    And what is their position on the new Japanese style toilet seats with cleansing spray? Are we limited only to the heated seat function or are they banned all together? And how will that help us fight our racist history here in Georgia?

    Geesh.

  8. Skeptic Tank says:

    It would have been very difficult for Mike Jacobs to have introduced legislation in 2004 because he wasn’t sworn in to office as a House member until January 2005. The 2004 legislation on water-saving fixtures was actually introduced by Rep. Karla Drenner.

    Unless we’re in an alternative universe, that is, where you can take office in 2005 and then get into a time machine and go back to the previous year to introduce a bill.

  9. Harry says:

    Harry’s Law: It’s no loss to a system when you take an amount from a system and recycle and return it.

    This whole discussion is skirting the main issue. If excessive amounts of water are being released now, then in the near future there will be less for both us and our neighbors, and the mussels as well.

  10. memberg says:

    We should totally jack up water rates during the shortage! Let supply and demand rule the day! If only we had more competition with our water providers, we’d never be in this mess in the first place! I’m sick of all these economic nincompoops who have a high demand for water but won’t concede to free market pricing.

  11. Rick Day says:

    Oh i agree, Chris, only us well-off who can afford the luxury of ‘water’ should be able to afford it. You may jack up the cost of the infrastructure in fees, but to increase the cost of water, per se, is bourgeois in nature. No one owns water, only the means to deliver it.

    Explain why in a Free Market ™ the Water utility has an incentive to ‘service’ less ‘product’?

    /rolls eyes

    Of course, once again most of you miss the meta issue. IMHO, the big issue here is why did this bill not pass? Answer: it was not supported by the ‘right’ people.

    Question: Who, specifically in the legislature, made the decision to NOT make this a priority (send it through and out of committee for a vote).

    It only seems fair the future opponents of these… short-sighted ‘tards, should have proper mud to sling regarding said ‘tard’s lack of vision.

    Oh yeah, we were all being saved by Gay Marriage. And the sponsor was an ‘ugh’ Demo-crat.

    Priorities.

    Totally. Disgusting.

  12. Doug Deal says:

    Harry,

    I have been trying to do my own analysis about how much water is LOST from the system.

    Much of household waste is returned (to some river) after being treated. What percentage is lost? All agricultural water is lost from further use, as is landscaping irrigation. Power plants use water to cool, but that comes back in warm water return, and cannot be treated the same.

    Unfortunately, it is not easy to find this sort of data. I do know that the average person uses between 50-100 gallons a day (70 average) in personal use. So, if the Atlanta area has 5,000,000, it needs up to 350,000,000 gallons a day from all sources.

    The ACoE is releasing over a billion a gallons a day on average, peaking at 2.5 bgpd.

    Assuming everyone in the Atlanta metro is drawing from Lake Lanier (which they aren’t), they are using around 10 percent of what is being sent through. (How much of this water is returned to the river is anyone’s guess).

    If everyone stopped their faucets immediately, the lake would still dry up at about the same rate, as the river is only being replenished at half the rate the ACoE is releasing it. That means, instead of going at 2 x refill rate, they will be going at 1.8 times refill (and thats with very very liberal estimates about water lost by personal use).

  13. Rep. Mike Jacobs says:

    I didn’t introduce legislation in 2004 that would require retrofitting at the resale of a home. In fact, I don’t support that legislation at all. That was Rep. Drenner’s bill in 2004, and it’s going to be Rep. Drenner’s bill again in 2008.

    I wasn’t even in the General Assembly in 2004.

    I am looking for a way to incentivize voluntary retrofitting. There are ways we can encourage it without bringing down the heavy hand of government on people who choose to sell their homes.

    Incentives instead of the heavy-handed approach that keeps getting re-introduced and fails every time. That’s what I was saying in my e-mail release to the (traditional and new) media.

  14. The problem with getting the mandatory stuff passed is that the people who serve in the legislature and our Governor are not interested in doing it.

    I’d wager 99% of people that live in Georgia have no idea that it was even proposed. A few lobbyists and a few legislators who are frightened of actually doing anything that ruffles feathers are the problem with passing a mandatory law — not the fact that the law is mandatory.

  15. ChuckEaton says:

    Chris-

    I still think if the proper pricing signals were sent, after first allowing people a bare necessity of water at a reasonable rate, folks would look to retrofit plumbing and conserve water on their own.

  16. Still Looking says:

    Almost every metro water provider has adopted a pricing strategy based upon the North Georgia Water Council recommendations. The base amount is low and the rate increases with consumption. Price signals are being incorporated. Let’s remember not to bash the local officials for voting for a “tax hike” when they run for reelection.

    The issue we need to focus upon is how much water do we have? How far will it go given growth projections? How much do we need to save to ensure we have sufficient amounts to drink and flush.? This requires us to fund the State Water Plan. We can’t solve the problem and choose the right policy options if we don’t have the facts.

    Voluntary measures may be enough for now, but we may need mandatory steps if the voluntary and pricing measures are insufficient to reduce consumption. We are fumbling in the dark with proposals for market rate pricing, mandatory/voluntary conservation and new reservoirs.

    Also consider this: All the homes that have septic systems and public water are consumptive users and their water does not get back into a basin. In the future it may become very difficult to acquire a building permit for a septic tank lot.

  17. ChuckEaton says:

    My guess is the average citizen is not aware of the pricing structure. I also believe the upper rates are not high enough in relation to the level of water supply we currently have.

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