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As this column regular notes, government is good at wasting money on everything from obsolete tanks, improper tax refunds, and Social Security payments to dead people and old Nazis. Now it emerges that, during a severe drought, when Californians face mandatory water restrictions, the federal government excels at wasting water.
CBS reporter David Goldstein found that federal facilities in Los Angeles were wasting water for hours at a time. At the federal Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center they were hooking up sprinklers that went on for two hours, far past the eight-minute maximum. At that same facility last October, when restrictions were in place, the watering went on for six hours. At the Veterans Administration facility in Loma Linda a broken sprinkler gushed for days without repair. Federal employees were not happy with the revelations. At the VA facilities in Los Angeles, they threatened to confiscate a reporter’s camera. In Loma Linda, they asked reporters to leave. Taxpayers might recall that the Veterans Administration is not exactly transparent on health care, either.
The state capital of Sacramento, meanwhile, deploys city employees as water snoops, 10 to 25 on any given day according the city’s “sustainability manager” Terrance Davis, quoted in the Sacramento Bee. No word of how much water the government snoops have saved, whether they are cost effective, or whether they are needed at all. As the report notes, local residents are squealing on each other, with 4,000 complaints in April alone. Excessive water use can bring fines of $500 a day.