February 4, 2014
We are experiencing the worst drought in over a century. Governor Brown has declared a drought emergency and last week, President Obama called the Governor to reinforce his commitment to provide necessary federal support.
Two thirds of California are in extreme drought and almost the entire state is abnormally dry. Ranchers are selling their cattle because they can’t afford to buy hay to feed them; private wells are running dry; some communities are trucking in water, others have another two or three months left until they run out of water; and there is little rain in the forecast.
Water is California’s gold and this historic drought will have a significant impact on local communities, the economy and the environment. It will also impact the rest of the nation since California is one of the largest food producers in the world. While we need to address the immediate emergencies, the situation should also serve as a reminder that droughts in California are not new. They are part of Northern California’s climate and in the long run, we must do a much better job conserving, recycling and using water. Every one of us can play an important role in saving water. Here are some easy things you can do in your home:
- Use the washing machine only when you have a full load
- Run the dishwasher only when full
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and one with rinse water
- Compost vegetable food waste instead of using the garbage disposal
- Cook food in as little water as possible
- Collect water you use for rinsing vegetables and use it to water house plants
- Install a low-flow shower head and take shorter showers
- Install a high-efficiency toilet and make sure it doesn’t leak (this can save 19 gallons per person per day!)
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
- Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation
- Mulch around plants to reduce evaporation
- Plant drought-resistant plants
- Use a broom to clean the driveway instead of the hose
- Wash your car with a bucket and sponge and hose with a self-closing nozzle
It will take combined federal, state and local efforts to solve our water crisis, but we can all do our part to help.
All the best,