Shut It Off - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1725290

Shut It Off

What a timely article [“Top Water Users Drive Up Costs For Everyone,” Residence, September 3] while the West Coast is burning and the East End is facing a severe drought!

It upset me greatly to learn how recklessly water, our most precious resource, is being wasted by a few local individuals.

When I posted this issue my own Facebook wall, my friend John Pabon, author of the new book “Sustainability for the Rest of Us,” shared this with me:

“I am a strong believer in government regulation when it comes to things like this. With sustainability, you’re working with the law of averages. Some people will do more than others, but overall everything balances out. With U.S. household water use, that’s roughly 100 gallons a day on average. Again, some will use more and some much less.

“But to have people in such privileged bubbles using so much water on just landscaping is beyond the pale. In any other area of society, stepping outside societal norms this much would be cause for prison.

“Remember, too, that water is a global resource. Over half of the world’s population experiences water scarcity at least one month a year. Strain is only going to increase with populations expanding. So, not only are these people in Southampton wasting water on their lawns, they’re also jeopardizing the future of the global water and food supply. It’s probably not hyperbole to think that for every X number of gallons they let spill out their hoses, someone in the developing world dies from dehydration.

“This is when government needs to step in, as it’s clear personal behavior that is not going to change. It’s not a matter of taxing them, either. This doesn’t change behavior and doesn’t deal with the heart of the matter — a lack of natural resources. There should be caps implemented. No trading of water credits. No tax on overuse. Simply cut off the water supply.”

Strong words, but I couldn’t agree more. And while the super-rich are the worst offenders, I see alarming waste wherever I look. U.S. water consumption is off the charts, and very few are even aware.

At a time when large portions of the country are in flames, we all need to make an effort to preserve the planet’s water resources. And it became clear to me that it is a small planet after all when the haze of the West Coast wildfires reached the East End … so while clearly something on a bigger scale needs to happen out here, please try to save water as much as you can!

Andrea Kuenzel



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