Thirsty Thursday: Don't Doubt the Drought
Whether you live in California or not,
you've heard about the drought that has been plaguing our planet.
Here in California, we were forced to cut down on watering our lawns, and many farms were shut down due to high water prices as water rations were increasingly enforced; signs noting the water conservation can be seen in plots of grass all around town, and water reservoirs that have been full my whole life are mere puddles today.
Many people in media recently have been seen reporting the "drought is over," but if we return to our water wasting ways, we will only return to this historical drought.
It may not surprise you to hear that California uses more water than any other state. However, the majority of water used in California goes towards irrigation: agriculture uses 80% of California's water.
One of California's most valuable crops are almonds. It takes approximately 1 gallon of water to grow a single almond, and most of these almonds are being shipped out of the state.
There are unique restrictions on the water farmers are allotted each year depending on the size and location of your farm, the demand for what you're growing, and how much water you used last year. This restriction has led to many farmers flooding their crops in an attempt to "use" the same amount of water they used last year to ensure that they are allotted the same amount of water for the next year.
Unfortunately these restrictions have more to do with politics than environmental needs.
There is no doubt that the world in general is rapidly loosing clean drinking water. Many third world countries are struggling to find clean drinking water. Even here in the US, the clean water crisis in Flint, MI is still very much an issue, and more cities throughout the nation are discovering how "clean" their drinking water actually is.
Climate change is a huge issue causing a rise in ocean water levels but a serious depletion of clean drinking water available for consumption. We may have experienced significantly high rain over the past year to help us overcome the drought, but these rains are not something we can always rely on.
Many of us in Southern California easily forget that we are living luxuriously in a desert with green grass, pools, and all the freshest produce year round. Clean drinking water is not an endless resource. There is no doubt that we are running out of it very quickly, but we need to make preserving what we have left a serious priority.
Below & here are some tips on how to conserve more water in your everyday tasks.
Overall, this will save you money on your water bill, but it will also help save the environment and preserve more water for the good of others.
Don't let the water run
- when you're washing your hands
- when you're brushing your teeth
- when you're washing the dishes
Conserve what you can
Invest in a couple of 5 gallon buckets from your local hardware store to keep in your shower.
While you're waiting for the water to heat up before hopping in, use the buckets to collect the cold water and dump it in your pool or yard afterwards.
*we've been doing this for about a year now, and I easily save 2-6 gallons per shower*
If you use an Alkaline Water machine like I do, you'll know about the 30% of "acidic water" that gets drained out of the back of the machine when filtering "alkaline water" into your cup.
This isn't dirty water, it's just not the pH you want to be drinking. Lower pH water is actually good for most plants, so there's no reason you shouldn't repurpose it. We leave a pitcher in our sink to catch the excess water to repurpose in our yard, pool, to soak dishes or clean fruits & vegetables.
Be "water wise"
- Avoid using water wasting tools like the dishwasher
- If you don't already have them installed, invest in low flow toilets and/or repurpose 2 liter bottles by filling them with water or rocks and placing them in your toilet tanks to reduce the amount of clean water that gets flushed down the toilet every time you flush (about 3.5-7 gallons per flush).
- Furthermore, consider instating an "if it's yellow let it mellow" rule to reduce the number of times you flush that 3.5-7 gallons of clean water down the drain.
- Grass and certain plants require more water and attention than others; research some water wise plants to cut down on your watering needs.
*look into your local incentives: my parents received a rebate from the city for converting our front yard from grass to "water wise" plants, like succulents*