Water, Water Everywhere – But Can We Drink It?

Water is our most precious natural resource. Every living thing needs water. We humans need it to stay hydrated and to cleanse our bodies and wash our clothes. Plants can’t grow without water and animals won’t survive without it.

Unfortunately, the earth does not have an unlimited supply of water. The growing population, along with the misuse and abuse of our water resources, puts a tremendous strain on our water supply. Water conservation is essential in order to save our dwindling water reservoirs. Conserving water means to preserve it by using it conscientiously and carefully. Each of us can do our part at home every day.

How to Conserve Water In Your Home 

There are many habits we can change in our homes. They may seem small, but if everyone does their part, the effect would be monumental. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do right now to reduce your water usage. Listed next to each idea is the approximate number of gallons that can be saved in your household.

  • Fix leaks quickly – Repairing leaky faucets can save up to 110 gallons per month.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth – This can save 10 gallons per day, per person.
  • Recycle used water to water plants – Depending on how many plants you have in your house, this can save dozens of gallons per month.
  • Fill dishwasher and clothes washer before running them – Waiting to run your washing machine until you have a full load can save up to 45 gallons per load. Doing the same for your dishwasher can save upwards of 15 gallons.
  • Limit your showers to 5 minutes – This can save up to 10 gallons per shower. Consider using a shower head that’s water-efficient and it will save even more water.

Ways to Conserve Water Around the Yard

There are also a number of things you can do in your yard to conserve water.

  • Purchase drought-resistant bushes and trees – Plants that require less water can save up to 60 gallons per square foot each time you water.
  • Set your lawnmower blade to 3 inches – This will encourage roots to grow deeper and use less water.
  • Plant shade trees that require less water to hydrate.
  • Consider installing synthetic grass if you live in an arid climate.

How California Deals With the Water Shortage

California has been especially vulnerable to water shortages for many years, due to its ever-growing population and arid climate. In recent years, snowstorms in the mountains have decreased, which have also contributed to the problem. Ongoing droughts only make the situation worse. Over the years, officials in many communities have set water efficiency laws to curb water usage. Cities and towns all over the state have also encouraged such things as:

  • Planting more gardens and parks within city limits to soak up rainwater, which will replenish the underground aquifers
  • Reusing urban wastewater
  • Encouraging the agricultural industry to install water-saving irrigation systems 

The state legislature recently passed two bills, Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668, to significantly curtail indoor water use. The goal is to gradually reduce usage over a 10 year period until 50 gallons of water are used each day, per person. Currently, there is no means to monitor the usage of indoor versus outdoor water usage and the details are still being worked out regarding how this can be enforced.

In the meantime, various water projects are looking at untapped areas for water.

Ways That Water Projects Can Ease the Water Crisis

The state of California has several water project initiatives searching for new water sources. One such project, the Cadiz Water Project, is looking at water located beneath the Mojave Desert. In conjunction with both public and private partnerships, the project hopes to create a water supply for as many as 400,000 people in the San Bernardino region each year for up to 50 years. It has already survived a rigorous state and local review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Benefits of the project include:

  • Excellent Water Quality – Because the watershed is located in an area of limited land usage, the water is free of contamination and bacterial waste caused by industry.
  • Protection of the Desert – The CEQA has already given its environmental stamp of approval.
  • Conservation of Water Resources – Over the next 50 years, the project will be able to conserve almost 500 billion gallons of water.
  • Efficient Energy Usage – Because the water is local, transportation costs will be reduced.
  • Economic Advantages – San Bernardino County will benefit from approximately $878 million being poured into the economy, along with almost 3000 new jobs in the first phase.

Everyone must do their part in conserving our most precious natural resource. Hopefully, we will never have to live by the quote in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”

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