"I do not believe we will ever go back to our old habits (before the drought). I think this experience has brought about a change in thinking for many people."
He was talking about the exceptional heat and drought last year that forced tough water restrictions on Charlotte (and most of the Catawba River Valley, too.) Even with recent above-normal rains, the area remains more than a foot below normal precipitation since January 2007.
Is Bean dreaming? Or is he dead-on? Can one year of conservation persuade an affluent community to adopt a new way of thinking about water? Will a big scare and higher prices curtail waste, or will we just pay more and continue to irrigate, flush and spray at will?
Already the utility has eased restrictions on lawn watering in the face of a budget shortfall due in part to conservation. So has Raleigh, where the water crunch was even worse than in Charlotte before rains helped out and refilled reservoirs serving the capital.?
What do you think? Have we learned a hard lesson and become conservers? Will our elected leadership make different policy choices about water from now on? Or will all those good intentions evaporate quicker than raindrops on a 100-degree day?