The floods flowing through Texas have created an unusual emergency situation: An inundation of snakes!
Texans whose cities have been deluged by torrential flood waters have another problem to contend with – a tide of more than one thousand snakes seeking shelter in their homes.
Panicked residents of the Lone Star State, as well as those in Oklahoma, which has also been swamped by the floods, have been finding the reptiles slithering into their houses in a bid to escape the rising waters.
Species including the rat snake – which can grow up to six feet long – have been found inside homes, nestled in the wheels of cars and hiding on patios.
In contrast, in response to the continuing “drought” (which is actually part of the regular climate cycle for this region), our politicians are slamming communities with new rules and programs.
For example, Sacramento County is offering “Cash for Grass” in addition to imposing strict times rules for watering grass. The following is a sample of the rebate program:
- Turf Replacement (“Cash for Grass”) 50 cents per square foot (up to $1,000) for replacing thirsty lawn with low-water use plants.
- Irrigation Efficiency Upgrades (up to $300) for replacing existing spray sprinklers with more efficient rotary nozzles and drip irrigation systems.
- Pool Covers (up to $100), which can reduce evaporation from pools by up to 95 percent.
- Rain Sensors (up to $100) to automatically turn off sprinkler systems during rain.
- Recirculating Hot Water Pumps (up to $150) to deliver hot water on demand.
- WaterSense-Labeled Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers (up to $100) to install a “smart” sprinkler controller that adjusts watering schedules according to the weather.
The number of weekly lawn-removal requests more than tripled to about 3,000 after Brown’s order, an agency report said. It said the agency has received applications that would total $330 million, though not all of those are likely to be approved.
Under the program, the agency pays $2 per square foot to replace grass. A maximum rebate of $6,000 is allowed per residence.
Now, Cupertino is canceling its July 4th show in response to the drought:
“People are very disappointed,” said city spokesman Rick Kitson. “Who doesn’t love fireworks? But overall, I think they get it.”
And though no agency formally tracks fireworks cancellations related to drought, Cupertino – home to Apple Inc. headquarters – could be the first city in California to squash such a pyrotechnics display as the state enters its fourth year of drought.
However, fireworks have been a target for eco-activists for years. Our local ones in La Jolla have been the center of lawsuits for years, related to their supposed “environmental impact.” The last one was settled when the organizers agreed to pay for a scientific study of those effects.
And while Californians have responded to previous dry times with robust conservation measures, officials are preparing citizens for rate hikes:
Ironically, the more people conserve, the lower the water agency revenue, which means eventually rates will have to go up.
“I think most customers think, ‘If I’m using less, my rates shouldn’t go up,'” said [Gary Breaux, chief financial officer of the Metropolitan Water District]. “But most of the cost—80 percent of the costs—are fixed, so whenever you need to turn on the tap, the water is there.”
In addition, Breaux said he believes investments will be needed at some point in building more water storage and better methods of recycling water. That will cost a lot of money—more than cash-for-lawn rebates cost.
Frankly, I might mind the rate hikes less if they went for actual infrastructure and not for more bureaucrats or to fight frivilous lawsuit brought by eco-activists opposing those infrastructures.
We chatted about both Texas and California, as well as national security matters, in Canto Talk last night. Check it out!
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