I was asked to guest write this blog post about water conservation by the Empress because she knows conservation issues are near to my heart.
For some reason, in the state of California a lot of home owner associations will not allow home owners to install artificial grass in place of real grass on their lawns. I will avoid the running off at the mouth about freedom of choice as I am not very familiar with HOA organizations, I have never had to deal with one.
The idea of not allowing a home “OWNER” to choose his or her own lawn needs during a period of drought as serious as this is just plain stupid, if you live in California please sign this petition it just makes good sense. If you don't like artificial grass, don't look at it, there is a big world out there to stare at. If someone wants to install this in order to save water then they absolutely should have that right and the Governor shouldn't need your petition signatures to see this but apparently Jerry Brown isn't that open minded….I digress.
I want use this platform to speak about the need to change the way we think about water. There is the same amount of water on planet earth today as there was in prehistoric times, but because we use 1900's technology to produce clean drinking water for people 99.99% of that water is off limits. That's right, worldwide 0.1% of the water that covers 70% of the planet is ready for us to drink.
California counts on snow melt from the Rocky Mountains and rain that comes two months per year to produce enough water to hydrate millions of people, water crops, and keep water available for livestock. This is proving to be a failed plan over the past few years as noted by the price of beef and fruits skyrocketing. This is DIRECTLY contributed to the deepest drought in California in decades.
One leaky toilet can cost tens of thousands of gallons of water per year wasted back into the ocean times how many leaky toilets in California? Broken sprinkler heads (that wouldn't be needed if you sign above petition!), refilling pools after water evaporates out of them….and my absolute favorite 1.6 gallons of water each time we pee rolls directly back into the Pacific Ocean and goes on the off limits list. 38 million people urinate an average of four times per day adding up to an astounding 243 million gallons of water washed away per day with the pee in California alone. How much snow is that?
The long-term solution to this problem is a change in the way we look at water, bring the other 99.99% of water into play. This will not solve the problem today, but desalination plants can and will produce enough potable water to more than resolve the problem along the desert coast permanently! Does it cost a lot? YES! does California waste more money in other programs? YES! will building the plants help the economy? jobs, jobs, jobs! The REAL unemployment rate (people receiving unemployment benefits plus those that gave up) was 16.7% earlier this year in California, anyone think some plant manufacturing would boost the economy? maybe move some of the 5.6 billion dollars from the “general government” category of California's budget to really boosting the economy with some jobs. Once the plants are built, they need to be maned to run effectively, more jobs!
There are a few desalination plants in California now, San Diego receives enough desalinated water to handle the water needs of about 400,000 people per year in a city of 1.4 million and rising. The designated water covers approximately 7% of San Diego County's needs. The complaint is that it costs more than snow run-off to bring to homes, but if there is nothing left in the snow runoff pond left to bring, is it a cost issue or a survival issue?
I remember during a drought in Florida when I was young, my dad aka the Sarge told me not to worry….it will rain. Eventually the drought ended and the rains returned heavier than before. Mother Nature is moody and goes through swings back and forth, the media talks about the amount of rain versus the “average” rainfall which is an accumulation of wet and dry years divided by the number of years. The drought is bad, maybe the worst in memory….but it will rain one day, and then it will stop again. When we stop waiting for the rain and get proactive on the needs of our communities and do what we can from a technology standpoint to make sure that we have the resources necessary to survive. This is why we elect officials, to ensure that public health and needs are met. Water will ALWAYS be an issue in the desert, but that is why we have elections….so WE can hire the people willing to make the tough decisions to protect the needs of the people.
Just one guys opinion.