(You can thank me for that ear worm later. ;) )
The city that I live in has chosen to ignore EPA mandates regarding updates in the water and sewer system for the past 20 years. They've been asked. They've been asked. They've been asked. Since they have chosen to ignore THE GOVERNMENT for 20 years, the EPA mandates are, well, mandated now and since they have chosen to ignore the mandates for 20 years, our city doesn't qualify for federal funding to offset such updates. Those update requests that are now mandated mandates are to be paid for by-- you guessed it-- the tax payers.
Last month, my water/sewer/trash (combined bill) went up $40. It was still billing for the middle of winter. While I admit that trash didn't go up, the sewer bill went up from $16 to $36. The water costs went up, too.
This isn't the end of the increases. The bills are to fully double (if not more) by the end of the project that they ignored for so long. Where does this put us? We're on project water conservation.
You see, the water you consume is factored into the sewer costs. They have given an option to have a separate meter placed on your home for garden watering only, but you have to pay for the installation. We're not completely convinced that system will work and frankly, I don't want to pay an additional fee to have another meter placed in my home.
About three years ago, we installed a rain barrel. We love our rain barrel. Hubs suggested that we install another. "I wonder how many we can install?" I told him that you can link 4 together. I seriously don't believe that we need a total of 16 rain barrels surrounding our rather modest home, but a few more in the back certainly won't hurt.
So what are we going to do? We're going to purchase more of these. The compost barrel works well, isn't ugly and blue and will be just fine. We'll purchase a few of them for the bargain price of $15 each. With the connectors and tubing, I figure that we'll probably have $50 in the barrels, but the money it will save will be well worth it.
My only complaint about my current barrel (which is still in winter storage) is that we could definitely stand to raise it. Hubs intends on addressing that issue. You see, I figured with the slope of the yard, raising it wouldn't be needed. It works, but I feel that it would be a bit more effective if it were a bit higher.
I can't give up on watering plants. Grant you, we've planted natives and they require very little water. I'm more of a perennial girl and purchase very few annuals. Annuals are basically for a few pots and hanging baskets. The rain barrel always quickly fills, so to have a few additional ones is welcome to help keep the vegetable garden going.
As far as other water conservation is concerned, washing the cars is going to have to be done at the car wash. I hate to say, but I believe it will be a lot cheaper. The fun summer sprinkler will have to be a very short lived enjoyment and only if it is overly scorching.
I announced to my people last night that I'm only doing laundry once a week and am doing large loads. Between the three of us, I had three full washer loads yesterday. For a week of laundry including laundering towels, I didn't think that was horrible. ETA: I did forget the sheets and a load or two on the weekend. Still, we're keeping loads large and not multiple small loads.
Still, if people would have only done what was asked of them when asked, life would be a little easier. Our city encompasses the full spectrum of financial states. You can go from the largest mansions in the area down the road for a 15 minute drive and end up in the deepest poverty of the county. If we're really having to study how to afford such increases, how are the families going to do it that can't pay the bill to begin with? That's thinking about the people in your city. Way to go. :S