Drip, Drip, Drip

Catching Up on the Drought, Climate Change, and Impact on State Pot Crop

Paul Wellman (file)

The bottom line on the state’s brand-new water conservation numbers: The Kardashians are not keeping up with Santa Barbara.

“Their water use means nothing in the grand scheme of things,” a Kardashian family publicist said, shrugging off an L.A. TV story broadcasting images of emerald green lawns and reporting excessive water use by members of the infamous reality-show clan.

Jerry Roberts

So glad we’re all in this together, Kylie and Kim.

As for the rest of us, new State Water Resources Control Board data shows that residential users cut water consumption in July by more than 31 percent over the same month two years ago. This exceeds Governor Jerry Brown’s conservation target of 25 percent, affirming anew the Golden State’s matchless sensitivity to environmental values.

“This is the drought of the century,” said board chair Felicia Marcus. “Millions of conscientious Californians are the real heroes here ​— ​each stepping up to help local water resources last longer in the face of an historic drought with no certain end date.”

To the surprise of no one, citizens of the City of Santa Barbara surpassed even the excellent statewide performance, reducing monthly usage by 36 percent. That translates to consumption by each of us of about 62 gallons R-GPCD. As every schoolchild knows, that daunting acronym designates “residential gallons per capita daily.”

Fair warning: Multivariable calculus experts are invited to derive similar numbers for their town using the immense ocean of raw data posted on the water board’s website. However, math wimps and other normal people are advised to shortcut it by checking out the extremely cool “drought report card” algorithmic graphic tool, devised by brilliant propeller heads at the L.A. Times, that decodes the numbers, community by community.

MEGA-KUDOS: Nice work by NBC4 news in L.A., which diverted a station chopper from blanket coverage of the 405 to flyovers of the stately homes of celebrities. Thus they scored images of lush green lawn at the $2.6 million manse of Kylie Jenner, notorious half-sister of Kim Kardashian; Kim’s grassy estate also remains verdant, despite an earlier vow to get with the brown-is-beautiful program adopted by millions of ordinary folks.

Kardashian’s publicist pooh-poohed when NBC4 inquired about water greed-head behavior: “They’re traffic tickets. Who cares?” she said. “I’m not going to comment every time a helicopter flies over the house.”

Oy.

NOW BACK TO PLANET EARTH: A must-read new survey about environmental attitudes, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), reports that six in 10 Californians now say that drought or water supply is the most important issue facing the state ​— ​a 23-point increase since last year.

In a related finding, 64 percent of those surveyed said that climate change is contributing to the drought.

The numbers are politically significant because the governor and his allies in Sacramento, at press time, were locked in a fierce legislative brawl with oil industry lobbyists, who’ve managed to stall the gov’s climate-change agenda in the Assembly.

Brown and state Senate President Kevin de León, D-L.A., are pushing bills to require, among other things, a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use by motor vehicles by 2030, along with tough energy-efficiency and building standards. However, oil interests have been airing TV ads opposing the measures in districts of some moderate Assembly Democrats, who’ve refused to back the governor’s agenda without more specifics about its long-term economic impacts.

The PPIC poll found that 73 percent of Californians favor the gasoline-reduction legislation, with even greater support for other pieces of the plan. Beyond citing such public opinion on the matter, Brown and de León also point to recent climate-change commentary by Pope Francis; they’ve also brought several California bishops to Sacramento to lobby lawmakers ​— ​not to mention actress Halle Berry.

No word yet if Kim K. is on her way.

IN OTHER NEWS: A coalition of marijuana advocates, known as ReformCA, have announced the start of a bid to gather 365,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot an initiative to legalize pot for recreational use.

Mindful of drought concerns, theganjier.com, a pro-weed website, recently posted a story asserting that, according to the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council, a plant yielding one pound of processed flower requires one gallon of water per day.

As a practical matter, the article said, this means that 100 gallons of water will produce 450 joints.

You could look it up.

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