Monday, June 04, 2018


The MAGA blog Zero Hedge published a post last night that's a textbook example of contemporary conservative rhetoric: It's alarmist, it foresees nationwide totalitarian doom -- and it's full of errors.

The post ("Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog") is titled "It's Now Against The Law In California To Shower And Do Laundry On The Same Day." Emphasis is reproduced verbatim.
Governor Jerry Brown is retiring but not before he passes a few draconian laws as parting gifts for California. Two bills were signed into law on Thursday of last week to “help California be better prepared for future droughts and the effects of climate change.”

The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, according to their wording, and not just for use in times of crisis. To make a long story short, now that these bills are law, it’s illegal to take a shower and do a load of laundry in the same day because you’ll exceed your “ration.”

... Assembly Bill 1668 ... establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years.
The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.
... Now, if you’re wondering where I get my assertion that you can’t shower and do laundry on the same day, here’s some math:

* An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water

* A load of laundry uses about 40 gallons of water

* A bathtub holds 80 to 100 gallons of water

* A dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water
And Ms. Luther wants to assure you that, like a zombie plague or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this liberal fascism is COMING TO YOUR STATE NEXT.
It’s important to pay attention to stuff like this and not shrug it off because “I don’t live in California.” In an economy such as ours, we’re all interlinked. A draconian law that gains a footing in one part of the country is much easier to pass in other parts.
Here's the problem with the analysis: The numbers aren't right.

Let's start with the laundry. Does a load use "about 40 gallons of water"? Yes and no:
An old school washer will use approximately 40 to 45 gallons (151.4 L to 170.3 L) of water per load....

New, High-Efficiency Washers (HEW) (front loading or top loading machines are available) can use 14 to 25 gallons (53 L to 94.6 L) of water per load....

The most efficient washers use less than 5 gallons (18.9 L) per cubic foot of capacity.
What about a bath -- does it use 80-100 gallons of water? Nope.
... according to the United States Geological Survey, the typical bathtub holds about 36 gallons of water. Presumably, you’re only partially filling it (if not, I think I know why your bath mat is sprouting mold), so the typical bath is probably more in the 20- to 30-gallon range.
Does a dishwasher use 6 gallons of water? Not if it's an EnergyStar:
The average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle; the average Energy Star-rated dishwasher uses 4 gallons per cycle....
The numbers for a typical 8-minute shower are right, but there are low-flow showerheads that can bring the number down. So can taking a shorter shower.

Well, you'd better, because the jackbooted California government is going to impose huge fines on individuals, isn't it? That's what Luther says:
What if you don’t comply?

If you don’t plan to comply it’s going to be way cheaper to move. Here are the fines Californians will be looking at – and it’s not a typo – these fines are PER DAY.
(1) If the violation occurs in a critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critically dry years or during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on drought conditions, ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.

(2) For all violations other than those described in paragraph (1), one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.
So these fines are going to be imposed on individuals? No. The law says they're to be imposed on any "urban retail water supplier" who fails to bring average water use below the targets. As The Mercury News puts it,
The new laws make it likely that water agencies will need to offer more rebates for home owners and business owners ... who purchase water efficient appliances.
So individuals get incentives to conserve by swapping out inefficient device for more efficient ones. Water agencies are the ones facing the potential fines.

So even though many of its readers don't live in drought-prone areas and don't need to worry about this in the foreseeable future, Zero Hedge made sure to get 'em good and scared, and angry at liberals. That's the whole point of conservatism, isn't it?




UPDATE: The talking point migrates to Breitbart.

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