For about 20 million people living in Southern California, water is not something that should be taken for granted. Due to many factors such as climate and geography, Southern California simply does not get enough water to sustain itself. As a result, Southern California agencies and entities must import water from other regions-most commonly Northern California. However, this has created an environmental catastrophe for many aquatic species, such as the Bay Delta Smelt. This small fish struggles to survive in an ecosystem where it used to thrive. This is because the salinity levels (amount of salt in the water) flux with increased and decreased pumping to Southern California. As Southern California’s water supply decreases, more (fresh) water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. As a result, seawater then mixes with the remaining fresh water, and makes it inhospitable for the smelt.
Water purveyors and municipalities do, undoubtedly, try to conserve water. However, these agencies and municipalities tend to push for more water conservation during dry years, and they often relax conservation efforts in years with plenty of rain. This causes a long-term problem because not enough is being done about water conservation. Efforts must be made year-round, rain or shine to make a lasting long-term impact on water conservation. As a result of the fluctuating water conservation efforts, consumers often do not realize how big of an issue water conservation really is. For example, agencies push to conserve water during dry years, and then reduce efforts during wet years. Customers then forget about water conservation during wet years. While this might work short-term, we need to conserve water ALL of the time-rain or shine, regardless of how full our reservoirs and aquifers are.