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March 2015 Archives

California Has One Year of Water Left

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Spring has not yet sprung and water already is headline news around the country.

Not enough in California (http://www.newsweek.com/nasa-california-has-one-year-water-left-313647) or most of the southwest.  Too much on the east coast of the U.S with record snowfalls recorded this winter.

Tensions between neighbors are rising in Texas (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/13/opinion/the-southwestern-water-wars.html) and drought is not just occurring in the southwest as the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor shows http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/RegionalDroughtMonitor.aspx

Now the word megadrought has entered our vocabulary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megadrought).  These decade-long droughts have forced mass migrations in the past and might again.

We cannot plan on the weather changing and saving us.  It is up to us to figure a way out of this situation.  If the weather does change we will all breathe a sigh of relieve and be better prepared for the next drought.  To stick our heads in the sand (i.e. I am not a scientist, but....) and not to plan leaves us ill prepared and no wiser than the civilizations that preceded us. So plan and implement we must.

On a local, regional and national level, we must cut our water consumption. 

On a local level, it means implementing water conservation measures and promoting the use of alternative water sources whenever and wherever possible. 

On a regional level, it means determining the best way to recharge our aquifers and prioritizing the use of sustainable water resources. It means coordinating with our neighbors and understanding both the upstream and downstream consequences of our actions.

On a national level, it means financing and communicating projects that work and penalizing old water-wasting habits that harm us all.  It means prioritizing water as a national issue, and not just another problem that must be dealt with.

On an individual level, it means getting involved.  Asking your local water company and representatives what they are doing to ensure your "water security".  What is the plan?  What actions have they undertaken?  Not just words, but concrete actions with objectives and measurements and timelines.

Water is local.  The solutions are local.  Building pipelines to transport water from someone else's backyard is yesterday's solution.  We must conserve what we have and re-use every drop two or three times. We must make smart, informed long-term decisions about what is the best sustainable use of the available water in our local is the future.  We have the science, we have the technology, but do we have the will to overcome this challenge.

We don't have to believe in global warming to know we are in the midst of climate change.  Regardless of what is causing our changing weather, it just makes sense to be prepared.

We can not wait for leadership, we must all get involved.  Our economy depends upon it, our communities depend upon it, our families depend upon it.  Water is the staff of life.  We need to act as if we really believe it.