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Do some have license to squander water?

It seems that the most talked- and read-about subject anymore is water. Just pick up the newspapers and read all the comments, solutions, etc., dealing with our water situation, especially lawn watering rules.

I was just reading this week of one person writing to suggest we dam up the rivers and streams to create reserves. Friends, there is not that much water left in the rivers to dam. And it was interesting to hear Sally Seiver stand before our county commissioners May 9 and tell how much water the mining industry is allowed to use and how we don't know exactly how much they actually use. Then the lady who followed and spoke about the mines using water wants to convince us that all the water the mining industry uses is reclaimed water. (At least that is what I thought she was trying to convey.) Why doesn't county government, the Southwest Florida Water Management District or the mining industry publish this water usage?

If residents of Hernando County must make sacrifices, why not industries? When we speak of conserving water and making sacrifices, I must tell you I recently finished washing a sink full of dishes. When I had finished that task, I reached under the sink and hauled out my handy, small bilge pump (normally used to pump water from our kayak) and proceeded to pump the sink full of water into a 5-gallon bucket, then used that water to water plants and flowers around the home and the yard. The same can be done with the clothes washer if you catch the cycle in time. (I don't use the water to water the grass; that burned off sometime last month!)

I also have determined that on certain nights, if I slip outdoors very late in the evenings or very early, early in the mornings, I can capture some water from sprinklers that shoot beyond the grass boundaries and use it for my dry plants. Would you also believe that just the other night as I was returning home around 9 p.m. a resident was watering his lawn, and the water from the sprinklers was spraying in a circular pattern. At one point the spray would splash against a wooden fence and little would reach the ground. Most of it was absorbed by the rotting wood in the fence. Next, the spray targeted an area of yard bordering the street. The water practically sprayed to the center of the street. Since it was late, and no traffic was on the street, I positioned my unwashed, dusty car so that the stream of water would hit the top and left side of my car. After three or four hits on that side, I pulled away, made a U-turn at the intersection and returned for the other side of the car to get washed. It was not the best wash job I've had, but I was able to affirm the true color of my car again.

The next day, with a practically clean car, I decided to go where water was. I loaded up the canoe and headed for the Withlacoochee River. But whoa! No can do. The water level was down so much one could walk across the river in places. As I drove back home, I counted at least three residents either having a well drilled or their existing well deepened because the level in the aquifer is low.

So, here I am, asking myself the question: "Why am I conserving water?" Is it because I do not want to contribute to the drawing down of the aquifer in order for others to have the water to water their lawns? Maybe I should get a well drilled, go before the commissioners or the Swiftmud governing board, and request the privilege of uncontrolled pumping, as do notable industries. (Use all you want; just give an estimate every once in a while so we will know how much is left for the other residents of Hernando County.)

I must go now. The wife is calling to say our bath water is ready.

P.S. In every automobile I have ever seen, ashtrays are built in. Please use them. Do not throw cigarettes or cigars out the window onto the dry grass._ G. Ray Heddleson lives in Spring Hill. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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