A sprinkler head had cracked, so water spurted not only into Amanda Beyer’s thriving flowerbeds and lush lawn but also onto the driveway and then into burbling pools in the gutter. Rather than be concerned, Beyer was defiant, offended by anyone pointing out the waste of the region’s most precious resource at a time when farms a few miles away were browning.
“It’s none of your or anybody else’s business,” she said through the screen door as the water continued to gush before she slammed her front door. “We pay our water bills. I’ll get the thing fixed whenever I get around to it. Until then, that’s the way it is.”
As brash as Beyer is about it, she’s also right. As one of 400,000 residents of the Reno-Sparks area, which is mainly served by water that flows from rivers sourced at Lake Tahoe, she’s under no legal obligation to change her approach.
In fact, while the folks at the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA), which oversees her service, don’t condone or encourage such wanton and brazen waste, they also spent the spring reassuring customers that the extreme drought that has parched swaths of California and Nevada agricultural areas will have minimal impact on urbanites.