In defense of “behavior modification”

APPEARING before the City Council yesterday arguing for a new plumbing ordinance, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials illustrated the fundamental difference between Them and Us.

One, they are working hard to keep us in water. Two, we their customers cannot be relied upon to worry about how this happens.

The gist of the new (and wholly laudable) water saving ordinance was that the Department of Water and Power would conserve for us by changing plumbing codes. Or, to use their phrase, this conservation solution did not require “behavior modification.”

By behavior modification, they mean our ability to change wasteful or detrimental habits on our own. Southern Californian water managers are particularly skeptical about our ability to change the way we garden.

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