In Minot, Some Are Wondering If There Should Be Jail Time For Those Using Water

Here in my hometown of Minot we’ve been under water use restrictions for weeks due to the water infrastructure being damaged by flooding. We’re not supposed to use water frivolously, and the water we do use has to be boiled before drinking.

Today the Minot Daily News is running a poll asking what should happen to those caught watering their flowers or spraying off their driveways, and it made me laugh out loud:

Note the lack of an option to vote for “nothing” or something less draconian than having your water shut off like, I don’t know, a warning.

Right now “A stiff fine” is winning with 55% of the vote, with “Shut off their water” coming in a distant second with 38% of the vote.

But hey, let’s go one better. Why wait for citizens to report one another for watering their lawns? After all, some neighbors may not want to report their neighbors or, worse, may actually collaborate with them in schemes to use more water.

Maybe the city should review water meter records and target the worst offenders. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • ec99

    “Note the lack of an option to vote for “nothing””

    This is similar to the GF poll for a new library, which excluded “none” as an option.

  • flamemeister

    Reward neighbors for reporting each other to the Gauleiter?

  • Lianne

    Of course some city residents have their own wells from which they draw water for yards, plants, etc. 

    • Rob

      That’s a good point.  Also, if I were to wash my car once a month instead of once a week as I normally do, wouldn’t that be conserving?

      • robert108

        Only if it affects the total quantity of water.

      • Oranders1

        What about the people who put a system in a place where there would be a problem. Or did they even bother to do a study of what IF Problems like a Major FLOOD or Do they just get extra FREE bottled water.

  • GDAmrwright

    That is why I have private well and sewer.

  • DopeyDem

    Somebody has to use the water system or you will start getting notices that the city water department is way short of it projected revenue. Same thing happened in the Southeast when they asked people to conserve during the drought. Water bills tripled the next year to make up the difference of what they lost. Someone’s got to pay for their retirement plans too. 

  • Vlad Taltos

    I don’t get you guys. The infrastructure is damaged yet you think everybody should be able to use all the water they want without consequences. You don’t care if it hurts your neighbor.

    • Rob

      It’s really an argument against the government having a monopoly on the water supply.

      • VocalYokel

        When you rely on the government for anything, (Social Security, welfare, unemployment benefits, jobs, utilities, protection, etc.) you are subject to the legislative and economic whims of the provider.

        Hence the word ‘dependent’.

      • Vlad Taltos

        Your article is not about the government monopoly or privatization of water. It is about the use of water after an emergency when the infrastructure is damaged.

        But for the record, when water is privatized prices have gone up.

        Water should be subsidized. It is different than everything else. If you want to see real class warfare and the end of America, make water expensive.

        BTW, I am investing in glaciers.

        • Rob

          Spoken like someone who doesn’t understand the markets, or the situation at hand.

          • Vlad Taltos

            I know what markets do.  They find an efficient price.  That is not the same thing as an affordable price.

            What do you think markets do?

  • WOOF

    Note the lack of an option to vote for summary execution.
    What would Perry do ?

    • Guest

      Electric chair.  Even with an IQ below 65.

      • Camsaure

        Makes you nervous huh?

  • Carol

    Why would you wash your driveway when water use is restricted? We’ve been using bottled for our flowers and the dog. Would that off set the fact that I’ve been letting evacuees wash clothing at my house?

    • Lianne

      Garrison has a great laundromat.  Clean.  Immediate assistance.  All machines are working.  We go there to do our to to three loads.  We are all in this together.  some are car pooling to Garrison.  BTW, we are getting bottled water there also, paying for it of course, but that is our contribution to conserving water.   Conserving may be the smallest of our problems as the sewer system may give way this fall and winter!!!!!

  • suitepotato

    If someone can wash their driveway with municipal water while it is under flood waters, give that bastard a medal and make them mayor. That’s a person who can get the impossible done.