California’s drought and how it effects us all

Troy Wilkinson

Troy Wilkinson
Troy Wilkinson

California is currently going through an environmental crisis. Life without tons of water? Not only does the California drought spell death for the green lawns in California’s suburbs, but a quick Google search will show how the state looks … well, worse. Not only is it bad that there is a lack of usable water, but there is also less water to look at. The rivers and reservoirs all across the state are shriveling ponds and streams due to the worst drought in California’s written record.

Since I am originally from California, I am pretty worried that my home state is taking a nosedive, but still, I do not actually feel the effects of the drought while I am at college. It is hard to realize how horrible this drought is when you have a swelling reservoir right next door.

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The California Department of Water Resources recorded that the snow pack for California April 1 was 5 percent of the average; that’s 1.4 inches of snow. Reservoir capacities across California are critically low in some areas, and others are decreasing to similar levels. Sounds pitiful from Colorado’s perspective, right? Colorado could eventually be in a situation just as bad.

People need to use less water, because it is likely that even Colorado may be in trouble. It may be time to look into some actual regulations on water usage, before water levels fall irreparably low.

Let’s not equate our position of wealth to a position of careless spending. I have seen countless instances of wasting water; I waste water at times as well. Many friends of mine take showers for longer than 10 or 15 minutes, using around 20 – 35 gallons of water. The average American household uses 320 gallons of water daily. That is a tremendous amount of water.

California is not an isolated event. We may be swimming in fresh water here in Colorado, but in the near future, Colorado could look just as arid as California. In Fort Collins, over the past 50 years, the average temperature has risen around 5 degrees. The ski industry has seen some of the effects of global warming already. Places like Vail had to push back their opening dates. That may not seem like a whole lot, but the environment is a fickle beast, and by no means is a 5 degree shift something to sneeze at.

Community officials in California now have the capability to fine a household $500 for excess water usage. My gut feeling when I read that was “damn, now I won’t be able ponder all of life’s complexities while I shower.” In truth though, should anybody really be using clean water that carelessly? Nobody should think it is okay to spend more than 10 minutes for a daily shower; it’s a total waste of water. Everyone should be conscious of how much water they are using. If someone uses too much, they should pay for it, and I mean literally pay for it.

The environment is losing its ability to provide all of our water needs. In California, that is obvious, but action still needs to be taken against wasting water elsewhere. That is a reality that first-world countries are going to have to face. Hopefully water conservation becomes widely adopted before another drought like California’s hits. Water is not unlimited, and it should not be treated like it.

Collegian Columnist Troy Wilkinson might be able to be reached telepathically, but a better bet would through letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @blumitts.