Source: Valley Roadrunner

Conservation is key

by Kim Harris

January 30, 2014

California Governor Jerry Brown issued a drought declaration last week. Not a surprise to anyone living in Southern California given the extremely dry winters we have seen over the past several years.

Anyone who has lived through a drought before knows that the next thing to come down the pipeline will be water restrictions. In his article on page A3 Drought, the good news and not so good news, VCMWD general manager Gary Arant addresses the governor’s request for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use as well as how the drought affects each part of the state differently.

According to Arant’s article, due to prior planning and infrastructure already in place, only voluntary conservation will be requested in the year 2014. But what happens next year if the drought continues? If the trend for drier winters continues – and current weather models predict that is the case – water conservation becomes a vital part of surviving the drought.

Using water wisely is something we often don’t think about. However, in this day and age – when we are recycling more and more of our trash products such as plastic and metals – wouldn’t it be a natural progression of our efforts to save our planet by formulating a plan for water conservation and recycling?

According to the Mother Nature Network, residential graywater – that is waste water from showers, tubs bathroom sinks and clothes washers – can be recycled through three types of treatments. Untreated water can be used for subsurface irrigation of ornamental plants. Filtered water can be used for watering plants above ground and treated water can be used for a “variety of landscape applications, including sprinkler systems as well as for flush water in toilets.”

Treatment devices for graywater can be found at home improvement stores across the country and are easily installed according to numerous websites on the subject.

According to, the average American lifestyle demands 2,000 gallons a day. Seventy percent of that goes towards our diets, a necessity for life, but why not take a look at the other 30 percent and see where you can conserve?

Some simple water conservation tips include installation of low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators; fix leaky faucets and only running your dishwasher and clothes washer when full. Buy recyclable products and recycle them, better yet, buy reusable products since it takes water to make almost everything. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and washing the dishes, and shorten your shower time by a minute or two.

If you are looking at remodeling bathrooms or buying new appliances, now is the ideal time to look for energy efficient models of everything from dishwashers to toilets. In addition to saving on your monthly water usage, these models will also cut back on electric bills saving you more and more money as time goes on.

Doing some landscaping? This is an ideal time to choose plants native to our climate; they usually can survive off of the natural amount of rainfall.

There are plenty more conservation tips out there. A simple Google search reveals more tips that can be easily implemented into your daily routine.

The Valley Roadrunner is curious to see how you are weathering this drought and would love to hear your tips and tricks to conserve water, one of our most precious resources. Feel free to submit a letter to the editor or just send an email to highlighting your conservation efforts.