Today, I’m going to broach a bit of a frustrating topic for anyone who wants to encourage people to conserve their water. For those of us who already understand the importance of going green, we’re probably doing whatever we can already to save water. For those who aren’t conserving water, we can repeat our well-formed points until we’re blue in the face, but some people just don’t want to listen. So this week, instead of including my usual facts, tips, and water-saving strategy, I’m going to write to all the people out there who, in spite of the current record-breaking drought in California, still don’t get why it matters that we save water.
First and foremost, let’s look at my current home city: Los Angeles. LA is hot, and dry, and on the edge of a desert. Most people don’t understand where their water comes from, and the fact of the matter is, the real story is crazier than you might imagine. We get our water from three different remote sources, one of which, The Los Angeles Aqueduct, is the subject of our film. We pipe our water from 338 miles away, where Mono Lake has significantly lower water levels than it did before the aqueduct was built. Another former source of our water, the Owens Lake, is now a dry lakebed due to LA’s diversions.
If ecological disaster isn’t convincing to you, let’s talk about the human impact. The majority of people in the world have no access to clean water. Only about 1% of the world’s water is drinkable, and when our drinkable water is wasted, it’s rarely reclaimed. Instead, usable water is literally flushed down the drain, often to end up dumped in the ocean. That means there’s less water to go around overall, not just for the disadvantaged, but eventually, for everyone. And when our usage exceeds rainfall, we’re playing with real human life when we make water management decisions.
Still not convinced? Well, then let’s talk about the impacts on your wallet when you waste water. Obviously, there’s the big one – that LADWP bill (or whatever your water agency is, for readers outside of the City of Angels) you get each month. Plus, look at your tax money. The aqueduct cost about $1 million to build, and that was 1913 money. Continued maintenance costs more money – unless you want to risk another bursting dam.
The benefits of conserving are manifold. Wasting water brings an ecological cost, a human cost, and of course, a monetary cost. Next time someone tells you they don’t see the point in saving water, hopefully you can whip out these facts and win someone over to the cause! I’ll be waiting in the shower-free zone!