I submitted this letter to our pals at Lamorinda Weekly nearly seven weeks ago and hey, presto! It remains unpublished. I guess it’s time for the author to take a hint.
Leave it to me to offer a rant to a local paper during the fevered period leading up to election day. Yes, I can only imagine that their Letters page priorities lay with citizens shilling for local candidates. Heck, local elections are important! I’m not sure who actually read any of those endorsement letters, but I’m sure the missives made the writers (and the celebrated politicians) feel better. Who am I to second-guess the letter-selection process of our fine local paper publications?
Oh. Wait. I just did. Never mind.
Anyway, since my non-candidate-related letter wasn’t given a forum in the publication that originally, um, provoked me, I offer it for a public airing here. Thanks for reading.
I find it necessary to take issue with two recent front-page pieces in the Lamorinda Weekly “Our Homes” supplement.
In the “Poolside Living’ article that ran during the week of September 5, many factors were invoked in the decision-making process of whether to install a pool — safety, heating, cleaning, maintenance, electricity, construction, landscaping, etc — yet nowhere in this article can be found the word “water,” let alone “water use.”
A 15 by 35 foot pool, as described in the article, with an average depth of four feet, requires about 15 to 20,000 gallons of water to fill, according to online calculations on sites such as swimmingpool.com.
On average, swimming pools lose about a quarter of an inch of water each day to evaporation, and variations in wind intensity, humidity and sunlight can drastically change water loss rates. “Topping off” a pool throughout the year adds a significant amount of water use on a daily basis.
In 2016, California’s average family used 85 gallons of water per person per day. Let’s say the average California family consists of 4 people.
That’s 85 x 4 = 340 gallons daily. 340 gallons x 30 days a month = 10,200 gallons.
Therefore, filling a newly-installed pool means an average household is using about *six to eight weeks’ worth* of water just for the initial fill — to say nothing of the not-insignificant amount it takes to top off the pool throughout the year.
This may not seem like a whole lot to one family, but multiply it by all the families in Lamorinda who desire a pool — then all those in Contra Costa County, and in the entire state — who feel they are entitled to this kind of excessive water use.
It’s the responsibility of publications as Lamorinda Weekly to, at very least, pay lip service to the serious water issues faced by California, as well as the western states, and the US at large. Such profiles (read: fluff pieces) that present pools as attractive lifestyle accessories are throwbacks to the fifties and sixties, and these need to be re-examined with a critical eye — especially in the timely context of reduced snowpack and reservoir levels, and increased population density due to uncontrolled development.
To do anything less is a disservice to California, its environment, and its citizens.
Similarly, your “Oh…Rats!” article on the front page of the August 22nd installment of “Our Homes” features a serious omission. Nowhere in the piece can be found mention of the problems presented by rat poison.
Many other options are given, yes, but by failing to mention the drawbacks of rodenticide — which many local homeowners still rely upon — your publication drops the ball when it comes to informing and educating our neighbors on the environmental impacts of rat poison. Secondary poisoning of owls, hawks, coyotes, raccoons, and, yes, domestic dogs and cats who eaten poisoned rodents is a real problem with significant impacts to our citizens, their pets, and our ecosystem — yet it’s not even found worthy of discussion in the piece.
My wish is that the “Our Homes” portion of your publication is not used merely to sell houses and services and fancy accessories. I hope that Lamorinda Weekly can also utilize this forum to ensure that its readers are up to speed on the impacts their choices have on their neighbors and our environment.
Dobie Meadows landscaping