You can have good policy or you can have good customer service

I live in a community that was given a 36% water use reduction target by the state.  Since I've always been careful with my water I thought that I would get credit for good behavior.  Not so, and poor policy is to blame.  So far as I can tell, my water allocation is determined by simple-minded application of the rule: Cut water usage from the 2013 average by 36%, but don't let the allocation drop below 6 hcf per month for any household.

Of course this benefits people who wasted water historically and penalizes those who conserved.  I was one who conserved, and so my water allocation was set at the floor of 6 hcf per month.  I've added a third person to my household, am now housing a teen, and water use is consequently up. Naturally, I petitioned to have a larger allocation.  I got it: Now I have 7 hcf per month, which adds up to about 57 gallons per person per day.  We would have to be reasonably eagled-eyed conservationists to hit that number, which is possible, but what about the fairness issue?  It doesn't take a super genius to intuit that most people aren't being held to similarly low requirements.  If we're all suffering together, then solidarity, brothers and sisters!  But if you are holding me to a tougher standard then f*** off, I'll sue.

A little Googling let me determine that the average usage in my zip code in the middle of last year was 24 hcf (bill insert in 6/2014).  Applying the state-mandated 36% reduction target to the average usage is 15 hcf, more than twice my increased allocation.  This is consistent with a neighbor's report (they are newly arrived in the neighborhood) that their allocation is 14 hcf.

Finally, I received a letter containing this graphic in my mail:
In case you are curious, the entire first page, minus my address information, is shown below in a clickable image.
So I'm using about half the amount of similar homes and I'm being chastised instead of lauded?  Really, I'd like to turn on a hose into the street just to protest.  The curse words flew but after I calmed down I called California Water Service where the nicest customer service person defused me.  She placed re-application for an additional allocation increase into review by management because that's what happens when you've been give the generous upper of 1 hcf already.  Apparently the backlog of management review cases is so large that it will take us into 2016, at which point something will happen.

The something they are probably hoping for is that El Nino will bring sufficient rain that our reductions will not be extended by Governor Brown (they are scheduled to end in February).  The something that I am afraid will happen is that I'll continue to be held to a higher standard than my neighbors and I'll have to participate in a class action lawsuit to change an obviously flawed policy.

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