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Asking for it 

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For many of us the measure of good service in a restaurant is how quickly, frequently and unobtrusively our water glass is filled. Take a sip, set down the glass, and the server glides in and tops it off. How frivolous that seems in these drought-stricken days.

There is more involved than just the water we drink. For every glass of water set on a table in a restaurant, the equivalent of three times the amount of water is used to make the ice, and wash and rinse the glass. The cost mounts up, and seems particularly wasteful when we don't want or drink the water.

While saving money is a good thing for restaurant and patron alike, there's even more at stake than cash. Now that we're in a Stage II Water Shortage, where water-usage restrictions are in effect, it's clear we're approaching the point where all the money in our pockets can't buy a resource that doesn't exist.

Until Mother Nature sends us a little bit more of our annual 13 inches of rain, restaurants are doing their part in raising their diners' awareness of our predicament. Restaurants in the Pikes Peak Region will now provide water only when a diner asks for it. (A good -- and stylish! -- option is to order bottled water, either carbonated or spring.) Colorado Springs Utilities was kind enough to provide area eateries with small placards for their tables, explaining the situation.

Water by request has been a way of life in California for decades. Little consciousness-raising signs in hotel bathrooms encourage guests to use a towel more than once. (Imagine doing that at home! The nerve!) Asking for water while dining out in California is now as commonplace as, well, dining out. It will soon be that way here, too.

So don't take umbrage when you next eat out. Take pride that our area restaurateurs are doing their part and encouraging us to do ours. Ask for all the water you want but drink it.

Better yet, drink wine.

-- Nancy Harley

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