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Who you gonna call?

Whether it's Dan Aykroyd or the Almighty, we should be doing more to address L.A.'s water shortage.

November 15, 2007

In a dramatic effort to lift his state out of its worst water crisis in more than a century, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue gathered 250 believers at the Capitol on Tuesday and asked them to "reverently and respectfully pray up a storm."

Not to be outdone, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called a news conference the same morning to announce the return of "Drought Busters: L.A.'s Conservation Team" -- a mighty band of six Department of Water and Power employees (and nine alternates) who will drive around the city in marked Toyota Priuses, politely reminding 4 million Angelenos, scattered across some 470 square miles, not to hose down their driveways, water their lawns after 11 a.m. or take long showers.

The mayor credited an earlier iteration of the program, active during the drought of the early 1990s, with contributing to a 25% to 30% decrease in water usage. Of course, it probably didn't hurt that in those days Los Angeles enforced its conservation laws -- which banned hosing off sidewalks and driveways, forced homeowners to repair leaks and prohibited restaurants from automatically serving water to patrons. Back then, the city put 30 Drought Busters on the case. It also allowed them to write citations.

Last year was our driest on record. This year could be just as bad. If the city is serious about conserving water, it should make it mandatory. That's what they've done in Long Beach, which used less water in September than in any September in 10 years. Prayer vigils notwithstanding, they've imposed mandatory restrictions in Georgia too. And there, unlike here, it actually rains.

The Drought Busters, while kind of endearing, should not be confused with the Ghostbusters. Or perhaps they should.

Memo to Mayor: Bill Murray + Dan Aykroyd + updated hybrid proton packs = water woes whacked! If the governor of Georgia can call on the Almighty, the least you can do is reach out to a couple of aging movie stars. Just for a public service announcement or something. We've heard there are some writers around town who've got time to work on the script.

It's a logical next step. It does, after all, buy a few more months to dither.

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