Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mr & Mrs Bogan do a backflip

So far this year, from January to October, we have averaged 33.34mm of rain per month. The long term average for this period is 39.48mm per month. That's 84.4% of average and, given the nature of the word 'average', that isn't such a huge discrepancy. Not enough to continue to warrant the label 'drought'. Last year, over the same period we only had 24.74mm average per month, only 62% of the long term average. So that was a drought. The drought is over and has been since March when we came within a few buckets of the average, and we've been nearly at, or even comfortably above, average rainfall levels almost every month since.

I mention all of this because I'm sick of hearing the word drought bandied about as an excuse for water restrictions, which I'm also sick of. In fact, I'm not only sick of water restrictions, I'm angry about them. It's not that I care about watering my garden, I rarely bothered even before I wasn't allowed. It's not about cleaning my car either, who cares about that? It's simply that I always get angry about stupidity, and deliberate and misleading stupidity by people in authority makes me want to start growing a rain-forest in my garden just to be conspicuous in my displeasure.

We can't use sprinklers, we can only use hoses in certain hours on certain days, we can't wash cars... we can't 'waste' water. It seems fair enough until you bother to look at the statistics and discover that domestic use accounts for only 9% of total water usage. Less than 1 tenth. If every household in the state obeyed every restriction there might be, oh, let's be generous and say a 25% saving, which would mean a whopping 2.25% saving to the total usage for South Australia. In other words, not enough to have any effect. At all.

Read any of the reader's response columns on the news sites and you'll notice what I think is An Interesting Thing. When the restrictions were put in place the overwhelming response was anger at the inconvenience. As the 'drought' went on and more restrictions were placed upon us some people still grumbled, but they were increasingly met with hostility from those who were doing as they'd been told. An almost vigilante mentality crept in against those who were seen to flout the regulations, or even simply complain about them.

This week there was an announcement that some of the restrictions are being lifted and the dominant reaction to this was, again, anger. Anger at the Government for letting us use more water!

This represents a complete 180° turnaround in the attitudes of Mr. & Mrs. Bogan. So brainwashed have they become that, instead of feeling pleased at being thrown a small morsel of fruit from the whole tree they used to own outright, they are now convinced that using water for things like gardens is frivolous and should never be allowed, no matter how much water is available. It's absurd. The reasoning seems to be that they are now being robbed of their right to feel superior to those who ignored the restrictions all along.

They've not been given more water, they've had their moral supremacy kicked out from under them.