Friday, June 15, 2007

Who Needs Water, Anyway?

“Southwest Water Supply Dwindling” was the headline on the morning drivetime NPR story yesterday. You know the drill. Low rainfall, diminished snow pack, too many overdeveloped communities competing for the same Colorado River water. Lake Powell took 17 years to fill and 8 years to lose half of it’s supply. The “bath tub ring” indicating the “full” level is 100 feet higher than the current water level.

And just before I left the house and heard the NPR story, the LA Times was writing about that city’s need to impose stricter conservation measure NOW, not wait until there’s nothing to conserve. Another story discussed the drought on the East Coast, so this isn’t just about the usually arid West.

This isn’t the first low rainfall year, or if it is another real drought, the first of those. Is it global climate change or another natural cycle? In practical terms, does it matter? Maybe if I don't pay attention it will fix itself. And how does this affect our public and private landscapes?

So while this information bounced around my brain on the way to work, I passed 3 commercial gardeners (let’s make that “plant janitors”) hosing down their clients’ sidewalks. As best I could tell, they were using the same water that could be used to drink, cook, irrigate water-wise landscapes, wash ourselves.

Need I pose any solutions? I think we’re all sharp enough to understand that H2O is a precious, limited resource and there are appropriate uses and inappropriate uses. How about acting that way? I’ll save you some reading time and skip the stuff about the right tool for the job (think brooms), tolerance of leaves in the landscape, not using lawn as a decorative frill, etc.

We love our landscapes. But we need to move to a low-impact, low water-using model. How about now instead of after the water police come shut us down?


Diana said...

I do a lot to conserve; turn the water off while brushing teeth, taking quick showers, making sure I adjust the water level on the washer to match the load I am doing, etc. But the little guy is in love with the hose, using it to make puddles and to spray the garden. We are going to have to work on a more conscientious approach to water play and get him on board.

chuck b. said...

Meanwhile the homeowner's association mandates expansive lawns! Bleh to them.