2016-06-30 / Editorials


Never become complacent about water conservation

We just survived a week of record-high temperatures and, not surprisingly, talk of a new drought is rumbling across the land.

Flash back to this time last year when—following a winter of record-low rainfall—cities and water agencies in the area were ordered by the state to decrease their water consumption by 25 percent of 2013’s usage.

Results were encouraging as residents from Calabasas to Camarillo and all points in between reduced by about a third their water usage both in the home and in the yard.

About three-fourths of a home’s water bill goes toward landscape irrigation, and a requirement to cut back outdoor watering from three days a week to two proved to be the most effective weapon in fighting the drought.

Thanks to the new water- wise consciousness over the past year, supplies from the northern aqueduct kept flowing and reservoirs stayed mostly full. Mainly, we learned that lawns, trees and flowers don’t need the gobs of water we thought they did, and that skipping a personal shower or two won’t bring about the end of the world. Some lawns died and the color brown was touted as the new green, but in the end we survived one of the worst droughts on record.

Today, as we again wipe the brow and turn the air conditioner on high, how come there’s not the same sense of urgency?

While the January and March storms pummeled Northern California and brought new thickness to the snowpack, Southern California was again left high and dry. As we struggle through a fifth year of abysmally low rainfall in SoCal, now’s not the time to let our guard down.

Many people we talk to fell into a good habit last year of filling shower buckets and pouring the water onto their gardens. Others are still keeping a close eye on swimming-pool evaporation and learning other ways to cut back on waste.

But lately, some water agencies are telling us that it’s OK to go back to threedays a-week watering. Perhaps they want to recoup the revenues they lost when drought measures were in place and water sales declined. Just sayin’.

Conservation goals should not bounce to and fro and keep consumers guessing. El Niño storms may come and go, but in this part of the world water will never be plentiful and water awareness should remain a year-round, even lifelong pursuit.

This will again be a scorcher of a summer. Take matters into your own hands and cool it with the spigot.

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