Our Views: Conservation already a priority for Modesto

Call it a dress rehearsal. We’ve already commented on the state’s efforts to save water by fining those who don’t comply with the reasonable and necessary steps to reduce urban water use. So we’re proud that Modesto is ahead of the game, already warning those who have been less than diligent about monitoring their use. A story earlier this week noted the city has issued 536 violation notices for watering at the wrong time or using too much.

Soon, we hope, those notices will come with a monetary reminder.

The state was very clear this week about the rules it wants imposed, and we know they’ll work. Since Modesto instituted its rules and increased metering in 2003, city water use has fallen 20 percent.

We also appreciate those residents who tip city officials to those wasting water. We don’t consider it “ratting out” a neighbor; instead, those who call authorities are putting the good of all their neighbors ahead of the feelings of those few who choose to waste.

Modesto isn’t alone. Virtually every city is either already doing the same or will soon. And we’ll do our part. For instance, Ripon might want to check its sprinklers near Park View Elementary School; some might not be aimed correctly.

Fun, thrills, squeals ... at the Fair

Anyone who can’t find something fun about the Stanislaus County Fair over the next nine days isn’t trying very hard. At the fairground in Turlock, you’ll find nearly 1,800 animals to be shown then auctioned to help high school students raise money for college. There’s food for every appetite – from roasted corn to cotton candy to caramel rolls (just to name three from the C category). There will be exhibits, blue-ribbon winners, commercial booths, top-flight entertainment and, of course, the rides. As we said, fun for everyone.

Revising those estimates ...

When’s the last time you heard of a government agency looking at a list of projects and deciding it needed less money to do them? We’re happy to report that’s what Turlock did when figuring out how to fortify its water system. Originally, the city thought it would need to treat water coming from two wells for arsenic, which occurs naturally. But looking at the cost, Turlock realized it would be cheaper to drill new wells than to install the treatment. That took the cost from an estimated $2.7 million to roughly $1.2 million. Turlock’s plan is part of a three-city grant request through Gov. Jerry Brown’s very competitive drought relief program. Modesto and Hughson will also submit projects by July 21.

He must have been thirsty

Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t mess around when it came to allowing farmers markets to provide wine tastings. He not only signed the emergency bill, he made it applicable immediately. That means we taste-test foods at the local farmers markets today, then sip wines that might best accompany them at dinner. And for markets that have chefs, as does Modesto’s downtown market, they’ll be able to make recommendations then tell you where to try them.

Great neighbors, great response

With five minutes to go before his meeting of the “City of Great Neighbors” was to start, Mani Grewal was worried. The organizers had set up 30 chairs at Church of the Cross and only a few had occupants. Ten minutes later, it was standing room only. In all, 137 people came out to talk about fixing up city parks. “I was blown away,” said Grewal, who invited everyone to the meeting through his column as a visiting editor. Many promised to come back Aug. 2 when the group plans to work on two public parks. The Sikh Coalition, of which Mani is a member, will provide supplies for the project. Call (209) 404-7795.