As California enters its third consecutive dry year, water conservation is a popular topic - television, newspapers, billboards, and radio messages are telling us to conserve water because of the drought.
Clean Water Action agrees that we should practice additional conservation during times of drought. But California's is a dry climate that is expected to become dryer still as the impacts of climate change intensify. This drought gives us an opportunity to rethink our attitudes about and our overall use of water.
In the past 30 years, Californians have become more and more aware of their solid waste production, and now nearly half of the solid waste stream is diverted from landfills to recycling and composting. In water, however, we still follow the wasteful practices established in the last century, when water was plentiful. It is true that conservation has been the primary source of water supply over the past 30 years; water use in California has remained relatively stable even as the population has increase from 22 to 37 million. But even as we have embraced high-efficiency toilets and low-flow showerheads, most Californians continue to think of water as a disposable rather than a reusable product.
So how should California think of water in the 21st century? We must view water as a precious and limited resource that should be used and reused before we "toss it away". Here are some examples of 21st century water management.
Given the water quality challenges created by our current wasteful water habits, and adding in the potential for more long-term droughts as our climate warms, isn't it time we started thinking about water the way we think about trash?
Download these tips for conserving and protecting our water:
(pdf, 269 kb)
(pdf, 156 kb)
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