letter to the editor

‘Lighten up FUD’ on watering restrictions

When we moved from California to East Tennessee a few years ago, we were hugely relieved to get away from California’s draconian water scheduling and ever-growing water shortages due to excessive new development. The situation had gotten so bad that municipalities practically mandated homeowners to rip out their carefully tended landscaping and replace it with ... rocks.

We enjoyed our new watering freedom here in East Tennessee, loving all the lush greenery that makes our communities so beautiful, enjoyable and pleasant to live in. Alas, apparently nothing lasts forever and so we now have FUD’s “Beat the Peak” new watering restrictions. Watering only allowed three days a week, and not between 5 and 7 a.m.

According to the May 27 “Beat the Peak” article, FUD officials said “there is no shortage of water” but watering system’s preferred running time between 5 and 7 a.m. cause peak water usage where the FUD pipes may not have the capacity to irrigate and let “people get ready for work.” And upgrades to fix that would cost FUD “tens of millions of dollars and disrupt traffic/yards/neighborhoods.”

Good grief. So the FUD-covered area grew so much that the pipes are no longer adequate to handle peak usage? And now the answer is draconian California-style water schedules, and “prohibited outright” hours and days.

Which, unless FUD gets heavy-handed about it, most will ignore because keeping sprinkler systems running reliably is a pain as it is, and reprogramming everything even more. So why isn’t FUD simply asking its customers, “would you please consider watering earlier or later so that we don’t lose pressure when people get up and shower?” That would have been nice.

Worse, FUD apparently isn’t aware of the growing number of customers who use smart Wi-Fi irrigation systems that save tons of water by checking with weather forecasts so that sprinklers don’t stupidly come on when it rains? We’ve been using such a system for years and it has saved us (and therefore FUD) about 30 percent irrigation water usage.

These intelligent systems can skip/reschedule based on rain, wind, freeze forecasts. But they can’t do that if four out of seven days are verboten by FUD and the remaining three restricted. Under the system FUD imposed, we may use MORE water and our collective landscaping will surely suffer.

So please lighten up, FUD. Try to save yourself those “tens of millions of dollars to upgrade your pipes” by explaining to customers about the peak zones and could we please schedule around that.

Conrad and Carol Blickenstorfer