I’ve been thinking about all the ways that we (Angelinos, Californians, Americans) use our potable water supply. If we were a developing country such extravagances wouldn’t be possible. And
if when we have a big earthquake here in SoCal what things will we just not really care about for the weeks/months following? There’s nothing like a catastrophe to show us what’s really important.
Here are some of the crazy things we do with our drinkable water (feel free to hang your head in shame for the rest of the day):
1. Washing your car – Think about this for a minute. Is it really necessary to keep the outside of your car free of dirt, grime etc? Do you wash down the outside of your house on a regular basis? I didn’t think so. So the pressure is off to have a car that is shinier than the neighbor’s. Don’t you feel better?
2. Car washes – I realize that some use recycled water but that recycled water could be used for irrigation or something else. Be proud of your dirty car! And by the way, I have heard that many of them in fact don’t recycle their water. Sounds like a job for an investigative journalist!
3. Water parks/water slides – Sure, they are fun and keep people cool on a hot day, but really? Loss to evaporation must be higher than, say, a swimming pool. Speaking of…
4. Swimming pools – A status symbol that may be seen in the future in the same way as having a gold-plated bathroom. Unless of course this is your cistern…in which case, keep it covered so it doesn’t evaporate!
5. Fountains (decorative, not drinking) – From the showy Vegas strip to a backyard fountain, absolutely not necessary. Save the precious water for a better purpose!
6. Koi ponds or other decorative water features – I am in no way advocating for killing koi but can we just not use them as visual entertainment (and/or food for local critters)?
7. Spas – Other than for some medical reason, I don’t think we need jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, etc. Anyone care to disagree?
8. Golf courses – Before the golfers invoke the recycled water excuse, please see above “Car washes”.
9. Bottled water – Don’t EVEN get me started!
10. Gardens – If only people could really irrigate responsibly, we wouldn’t have to go there. I would argue for the value of a garden, but it doesn’t have to use a lot of water.
11. Long showers and full bathtubs – Make them the exception, an indulgence – not the norm. Yes, it’s important to be clean but how much time do you need?
12. Flushing – Since we’re getting a bit more personal, let’s stop for a minute and think twice about our tendency to flush the toilet. Big water user, especially if you don’t have a newer model. And if you haven’t seen this video, you really should. There are so many things we flush down the toilet because it seems like the fastest way to rid ourselves of whatever it is that we want to get rid of RIGHT AWAY (ie. dead goldfish, the butt of that secretly enjoyed cigarette, pharmaceuticals-legal and otherwise). Major problems. If you haven’t heard, our water supply in America is becoming contaminated with pharmaceuticals that most treatment plants don’t filter out. Rule of thumb: If it didn’t come out of your body, or isn’t toilet paper, do not flush it. (I’m sure many a college student is relieved that they can still take comfort in the bathroom at the end of a long night of drinking…)