If you thought staying at a hotel was a license to take showers as long as you wanted, think again. The Environmental Protection Agency – not satisfied with telling you that you need to take short showers at home – now wants to know how much water you’re wasting on vacation. As part of their efforts, they are proposing a $15,000 wireless system that will track how much water a hotel guest uses in the hopes that they can use the information to “modify their behavior.” Whew. Is that Orwellian enough for you?
“Hotels consume a significant amount of water in the U.S. and around the world,” says the EPA grant to the University of Tulsa. “Most hotels do not monitor guest water usage and as a result, millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year by hotel guests.”
Wasted, eh? Who determines what water is wasted and what water is put to good use? How long does a shower need to be before it crosses over from the “reasonable” category to the “wasteful?” Luckily, we have the EPA ready to give us these guidelines. According to their statistics, the average American takes a shower lasting about eight minutes. They want people to cut that by a full minute…as a start.
The device they are proposing will transmit guest water usage to a “central hotel accounting system.” This, in conjunction with the EPA’s WaterSense program – an initiative that challenges hotels to implement low-flow toilets and showers – is supposed to cut back on the millions of gallons of wasted water.
Of course, what starts as an initiative eventually becomes law. Hotels will opt out of these programs if guests complain – and who wants to stay in a hotel where every minute of your shower is reported back to the water police? That’s to say nothing of the low-flow technology. Is there anything worse than taking a shower with one of those anemic showerheads? Therefore, the EPA will have to enforce their program through the law, making it illegal for the free market to decide how much water is “too much.”
I want to think that there will come a day when Americans will say enough’s enough. I want to think that there will come a day when we will realize that we want more freedom, not less. But everything I see seems to indicate the opposite. We seem to be crying out for more regulations, more legislation, and more restrictions on personal freedom. Please, Mr. Government, tell me how long my shower should be. Please, Mr. Government, fine me if I don’t recycle my plastics. Please, Mr. Government, I don’t know how to live my life without your rules.
I guess that’s what we want.