Town of Palm Beach Begs Residents: Stop Guzzling H2O

Residents and businesses on the island of Palm Beach got a harsh green lesson this week when they were invited to the first of three water conservation "workshops" on Monday, to discuss a dirty little secret that many have known but few have talked of openly: the town is guzzling water. Palm Beachers use almost three times as much water as the rest of us -- an average of 1300 gallons a day per household, as compared to an average of 500 gallons for the hoi polloi across the bridge.

Workshop speakers admitted that the usage seemed excessive. Even accounting for the gigantic lawns, 25 foot hedges, and statues of peeing cupids favored by Palm Beach residents, along with his-and-her matching dishwashers, automated carwashes, and high-pressure bidets, they're still frankly using way more than they need to, officials said.

Mike Brown, the Civic Association's communications director told the Palm Beach Daily News that his goal was to get Palm Beach to reduce its water consumption by 60 percent, which would save 2.4 million gallons a day. The town's water contract with West Palm Beach expires in 2019, and the town is considering desalinization, or a reverse osmosis expansion to the existing West Palm plant -- steps that might not be necessary if residents hop on the conservation train and become "good stewards" of the environment.

But in a town that hasn't shown much interest in downsizing, except for the minute blip after the Madoff scandal, Brown may find himself paddling upstream.

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