Are regions actually starting to think about their long-term water supply?

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.

Brian O’Neill
boneill@waterwise-consulting.com
http://www.waterwise-consulting.com

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Southern California’s water reserves go down the drain

                Beginning in 2007, Southern California’s water reserves have been literally going down the drain.  As reported by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, there has been a steady decrease in water reserves since 2007.  This has been caused by an increasing population as well as a three-year long drought.

                Part of this water problem is due to the Colorado River.  This river has undergone a drought in eight past years.  As a result of this, the lower reservoirs have received less water, and thus have not been able to replenish themselves. 

                The goal in recent years has been to increase the storage capacity of surrounding reservoirs.  By doing so, the Metropolitan Water District would be able to store more water during non-drought years.  This water would then be used during drought years.

                To prevent havoc in ensuing drought years, many water districts have enacted voluntary cutbacks.  Some water districts have even enacted mandatory cutbacks and rationing.  For those customers who do not comply with the drought, there is a much higher water rate.  Many conservation programs are being pushed to help reduce the amount of water needed.  There are also many other programs, such as those trying to educate customers about water conservation.  By educating the public about water conservation as well as easy do-it-yourself ideas to save water, the need for potable water would drastically be reduced.

To read the article from The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, go to: http://www.mwdh2o.com/mwdh2o/pages/yourwater/WaterAlert/