It started out like a lot of other morning. Up at 5:45, on the bike by 6:02. That’s a little earlier than usual, but only by about 5 minutes tops. I pulled away from the house and headed east on Florida Boulevard. As I got up near Beaches Chapel, I felt the first sprinkles of rain. No big deal, I’ve ridden in far worse. I could withstand a few drops of water. Hardly worth mentioning. As I turned south on 1st Street, there were still a few sprinkles, but nothing substantial. I rode out of the sprinkles by the time I’d hit the St. Johns County line … about 5 1/2 miles south.
After making the turn back to the north on Corona Road, the sprinkles were back. Looking to the west, I could tell I was in for a wet ride home. The further north I rode, the harder it rained, and I was soaked in pretty short order. Not a cold rain, mind you. Even that early in the morning, it was just wet. Not the least bit uncomfortable. I was a bit concerned about my mp3 player and phone, but not about me.
But that’s not the reason for the title of this post. Riding in the rain isn’t really ‘just stupid”.
It has rained every day here for the last two weeks. Sometimes, it has rained hard. Just come down in buckets. But good, hard, soaking rains that are great for lawns. Perfect for growing grass.
Still, I’ll bet I rode past a half dozen places today where the sprinklers were running in the rain.
That’s just stupid.
We have been talking about a water crisis in this part of Florida for years. In town, the city is imposing watering restrictions this year even without a drought. Why? Well, central Florida wants authorization to draw up to 500+ million gallons of water every day from the river for drinking water. People at this end of the river are understandably pissed about that, but we don’t have any real conservation measures in place to show we’re good stewards of the river, so the restrictions will be going into place. It’s not really a bad thing. With so much development in the region, there has to be adequate water to support it. It’s why Central Florida needs to take it from the river. They don’t have enough from other sources.
When we had our irrigation system installed, one of the things that was standard was a rain gauge that shuts the system off if it doesn’t need to run. It’s really simple. If there’s enough water in the rain gauge, the system simply doesn’t come on. Our sprinklers did not come on this morning, and I didn’t have to feel like a moron because my lawn was being watered in the rain. But the house down on the corner of King and Leeward was just sprinkling away … oblivious to the fact that it was just pouring.
Even the city of Neptune Beach had sprinklers running in some public areas in the rain. It’s difficult to take the situation seriously when it’s being ignored by the city … but we have to.
Andie said something this morning when we were talking about it as she was leaving for work. “It’s not my money”, she said.
No, but it’s our water.
There are some small things each of us can do that will, when taken as a whole, can make a difference. It can be as simple as making sure the sprinklers don’t run in the rain.
Water issues are not just a Florida problem. Georgia is in the midst of a serious drought. Maybe where you are as well. It’s not a liberal or conservative issue, it’s just a human issue. If you have an irrigation system, do us all a favor and make sure it doesn’t run when it rains. It’s absolutely the least you can do.