When I was a boy, my folks owned a farm in Upper Lake in Lake County where we raised walnuts. It was managed by an aunt and uncle and I used to love going to visit. Every fall, we would go as a family to help with the harvest. The one thing I used to hate about it was drinking the water at my Aunt Betty’s house. It tasted horrible and there were always stains in the bathtub and the sink that looked like rust.
I remember asking my mother why the water tasted so bad and why there were those stains. It was the first time I ever heard the term hard water.
Hard water is water with a high mineral content. The United States Geological Survey states that 89.3% of homes in America of have some degree of hard water and some of the hardest water in the country is right here in California, including the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and San Diego.
Hard water is hard on your clothes, hard on your appliances, takes more energy to run them and leaves a scum called scaling, which is the left over mineral deposits after the water has dried up. It can clog pipes, ruin water heaters, coat the insides of tea and coffee pots, and decrease the life of toilet flushing units. It can also leave salt residue in your hair after shampooing leaving it coarser and harder to manage.
Sounds like we need to do something! Why is the legislature not doing something about this environmental disaster?
Well, the Legislature is doing something about it. But as they always seem to do, they want to take away the only thing we have to combat the ill effects—water softeners. They want to ban them.
Not only do they want to ban them, they want to give largely unelected local water agency bureaucrats the ability to develop a “finding”, which is a government word for “excuse”, that will allow them to enter your home and remove your water softener.
That is what AB 2270 would do if it is passed and signed by the Governor. Where Assemblymen Mike Feuer and John Laird came up with this one I haven’t the foggiest idea. Suffice it to say, it yet another example of a solution desperately looking for a problem.
And how will you be compensated for removing your water softener?
Will they compensate you for your water softener? Don’t be silly. You have violated the law and the Wrench and Faucet Division of the Product Police don’t have to compensate you for anything.
Will the State of California compensate you for having to replace pipes, get new washers and dishwashers and buy new clothes after the mineral rich hard water has destroyed them? There you go being silly again. The government is doing this for your own good although they never tell you what that good is!
And what will the state do to compensate all those Hollywood stars that will be forced to deal with frizzy unruly hair caused by hard water? Maybe they will be given a waiver by the Shampoo Division of the Product Police.
Water softeners have been used effectively for years — so why now, all of the sudden, do they want to ban them?
And if it is such a dramatic problem with regards to our water supply, why isn’t it being discussed as part of the larger discussion on the future of California’s water supply?
Assemblyman Feuer comes from Los Angeles County, which has some of the hardest water in the nation. Wait until he tells them he is going to take their water softeners. I would love to see the reaction of his constituents. Cue the tar and feathers.
Finally, who is going to enforce this ban? Will there be special plumbers assigned to local police forces to go in and forcibly remove your property?
If this wasn’t so serious it would just be one of those “only in California” moments. But it is serious and it should be rejected by the Legislature and the Governor forthwith.
And if it is so dad burned important, its impacts need to be studied far more than it has been and as I said before it should be a small part of the larger issue of water.
Let’s not try to “solve” an alleged problem while at the same time creating new ones.