California's Water Shortage

Posted by Scott Zornig, 27 April 2015

drought California is in the 4th year of a historic drought which has left the Golden State brown and parched. Simply put, the land of milk and honey is running out of water. Groundwater levels are at an all-time low. California’s reservoir’s, which were overflowing only a few years ago, have turned in to small ponds. In fact, it is estimated that California’s reservoirs have only about a year’s worth of water left.

California needs heavy rain…..lots of it. Unfortunately, many experts don’t see any end to the drought in sight. Some believe the drought could continue for years. Others believe this drought is epochal and could be worthy of a chapter in Earth’s natural history.

If this drought continues, life in California and across the U.S. will change. Wildlife will die and devastating fires will increase. California provides more than half the nation’s fruit, nuts, and vegetables. The pricing on these products sold across the U.S. will skyrocket without water to grow them. California is also the nation’s number one dairy state. No water = no cows = no dairy. Some estimate that as many as 20,000 farm workers could lose their jobs. Homes will face severe water restrictions. People will not be able to water lawns, wash cars, clean dishes and do laundry. Bathing will be limited to a few minutes a day or every few days.

We can also forget about our extracurricular activities. There will be no fishing in the lakes and rivers. If you are a golfer, the good news is without green grass, your ball will roll father as your favorite course becomes a hardened dog track.

Sadly, swimmers will be amongst the first affected even in the earliest stages of water restrictions, as pools will be forced to go dry. The average pool loses about a quarter of an inch of water each day to evaporation and this does not include H2O lost to swimmer splash. Swimming will simply cease to exist in the drought stricken states (ocean swimmers excluded).

So why am I writing about this in a newsletter about marathon swimming? It is simple….every person (swimmer and non-swimmer) has an obligation to be a good steward of our environment. This means becoming more efficient and less wasteful. We must all immediately begin practicing conservancy by installing water-saving appliances in homes, turning off sprinklers/installing drip systems, planting vegetation which requires less water, fixing leaks, limiting family shower to 2 minutes, and washing cars monthly instead of weekly. The average household uses 70 gallons of water each day. With some effort and sacrifice, there is no reason why each home can’t cut their water usage by 50 or even 75%.

Water is our most precious resource which we can no longer take for granted. Careful management of this resource is essential if we are to ensure a reliable supply for ourselves and for future generations.

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