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The Water Situation: California

Call me Crunchy. But I have a bit of an issue lately with the over-use of natural resources.

You can stop reading here if this offends you.

I know it’s not polite to talk about politics in a public setting (i.e. on the internet), but I can’t help myself. I come from a very conservative community, grew up in a very conservative home, live a very conservative lifestyle…you get the point.

But one thing conservatives seem to be very liberal about (in general) is using things up.

Growing up in California, I’ve seen it all. Water shortages, electricity shortages, clean air shortages…the depletion of precious resources (like old-growth redwoods and oil)…in this state, we use like it’ll never run out.

But it does.

Blackouts, droughts, clear-cuts, waste waste waste.

For a state with such a rough history, we certainly do know how to abuse whatever’s available to us.

It disgusts me.

And now I’m just mad.

Lev 25

Though the Sacramento area (my hometown) has successfully cut back water-usage by 18% in 2014, it’s not enough. And this is not a state-wide reduction. Water is a very precious commodity, with 10 of the state’s 12 major reservoirs at less than 50% full. According to the SFGate, last year was the driest year California’s seen since records began in the 1840’s.

It’s true that things were worse 40 years ago. But, 40 years ago, Californians seemed more interested in conserving water. Government officials are threatening a $500 fine for residents who do not conserve, when in 1977, people took the responsibility of living within their means upon themselves.

I wish more Americans would visit developing countries. Places where clean water is not available through a faucet. Where pit toilets and dirty hair are the norm. We are so, so spoiled. Rotten. And when we’re faced with a deficit of any kind, the response of the masses needs to be managed by financial implications.

Time to grow up, California. This drought is potentially devastating. We’ve all seen those hand-painted signs on I-5 about the need for water in California’s farmlands. Farmers and ranchers, who have been under pressure over the lack of water for years, are going to have to make serious financial decisions. Without farms, there’s no food (thanks for the line, Whole Foods). People loose their jobs. California doesn’t have the money to keep renewing farm subsidies.

Think about it.

How can you change your lifestyle to help?

It’s so easy:

Check for leaks and drips. Be vigilant.

Let that lawn go. Men, I know it kills something deep inside you to see a brown patch in that beautiful sea of green. But really. Priorities. Lawns are so embarrassingly wasteful, drought or no drought.

Shorten your showers. Self explanatory. Don’t run the water while you brush your teeth. Stop waiting for the water to heat up like a baby. Cold water won’t hurt you, especially during a California summer.

Use your grey water. This is a hot topic. Grey water is not used in toilets or anything gross like that. It’s water from your shower, sinks, washing machines, etc, that can be reused for irrigation. Boiling pasta for dinner? Great. Instead of dumping that water down the drain, water your flowers with it. Starchy water is like fertilizer anyway. Everyone wins. At the Boatman home, we’re still trying to get the hang of this. It’s so easy, but also easy to forget. Gotta make it a habit. Be aware of the products going into your water before repurposing it, though. If you’re washing your clothes with vinegar, use that water to kill off some pesky weeds. Use biodegrade soaps. Ya know, be vigilant.

And if you want to invest a little into your home, hit up your local home-improvement store for some water-efficient gadgets. Many cities are offering rebates for them, so you will save money right away and in the long run, too.

Bottom line – everything is connected. We are responsible for how we use what is made available to us. And since we are responsible, we need to be responsible. Take the initiative today. And pray for rain.


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