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#DroughtShaming Jerry Brown: Citizen Busts California Capitol for Illegal Watering

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David Powell was fed up with the hypocrisy.

The Sacramento resident used his cellphone to record footage of sprinklers watering the grounds at the state Capitol last week–on days when, due to record drought, lawn watering is legally prohibited.

“Jerry Brown, when are we going to stop wasting water at the Capitol?” Powell asked in one of the videos.

“Keep in mind, today is Thursday. It is illegal to water your grass on your property in the city of Sacramento except on Sundays and Wednesdays,” Powell added.

Powell also pointed out what he called a contradiction in the state’s justification not to allow lawn watering at the Veterans Memorial.

“The justification for not watering the grass at that memorial right there is because it doesn’t have trees. Now tell me where the trees are on this one,” Powell said, referring to Capitol Park. “There’s no trees here.”

Powell, an Air Force veteran, shared his video with local ABC affiliate News10, which in turn showed the video to Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the state Department of General Services, the agency tasked with managing the Capitol grounds.

“Certainly that is something that we need to look at,” Ferguson told News10. “We saw the video, it was forwarded to the appropriate folks and we are going to be fixing it.”

“We want to lead by example,” he added, “and let the public know that the state is committed to saving water.”

Ferguson told the outlet that the state has cut water use by 40 percent, well above the mandated 25 percent statewide cut. But it is unclear whether he is referring to state government water use, or overall statewide urban water use. Californians reduced water consumption by 13.9 percent in April, a significant improvement over previous months’ single-digit conservation gains but well short of Brown’s 25 percent target.

Powell’s videos are just another entry in Californians’ recent “drought shaming” episodes, in which citizens record pictures and videos of seemingly egregious water use and post them online for all to see.

Even celebrities who hide their impeccably manicured lawns behind large gates cannot shake the drought-shamers: Kim Kardashian, Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Lopez have all come under fire for their water use during the drought.


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