[env-trinity] S.F. Chronicle 6/13/10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Jun 14 10:28:53 PDT 2010

Time to get real about water

S.F. Chronicle-6/13/10

By Mark Cowin and Timothy Quinn



Mark Cowin is the director of the California Department of Water Resources.
Timothy Quinn is the executive director of the Association of California
Water Agencies, which represents 450 local water agencies. 



California's wet winter was a pleasant surprise after three years of
drought. Yet most Californians will be surprised to know that, despite the
heavy rain and snowfall, our state still is not able to meet all of our
water needs.


How is this possible?


Population growth, environmental protections and other issues have resulted
in our water needs outstripping available supplies. Despite the healthy
winter, the state is still suffering from the effects of three years of


In fact, many areas of the state - including the Klamath Basin and Lake
Tahoe - still will be extremely dry this year. Water managers are concerned
that this could simply be one wet year in the midst of a longer drought. 


California's persistent water shortage has serious ramifications for our
state's economy, environment and quality of life. We might well be the first
generation of water managers who can't guarantee a reliable water supply for
future generations - or even for the existing economy. 


That's why state and local governments have gotten together in a program to
encourage Californians to make water conservation a way of life. The Save
Our Water program is aimed at educating and motivating consumers to reduce
their household water use. Simply put, water conservation needs to become a
habit, just as energy conservation and recycling are. 


Last fall, our state's elected leaders worked together to pass a historic,
bipartisan water reform package. And while that effort was a huge step
forward, many of the fixes will not begin to help our water supply for
years, if not decades. The legislative package requires most California
communities to reduce their per capita water use 20 percent by 2020. 


But what does all of this have to do with you? More than you think. 


We know that Californians care deeply about our environment and want to
conserve our natural resources, but there is still much for us to learn
about our water use. For example, research tells us that most Californians
think they waste more water indoors than outdoors, when exactly the opposite
is true. 


Saving water needs to become more than just something we do in dry years.
Saving water needs to become a daily habit. 


This spring and summer, the Save Our Water program is highlighting
Californians who are reducing indoor and outdoor use in a "Real People, Real
Savings" campaign. It features people such as Katherine McClelland of
Pleasanton, who puts a bucket in her sink to catch excess water and then
uses it on her outdoor potted plants. Then there's Kelly Marshall of
Clayton, who installed drip irrigation and replaced her front lawn with
California-friendly plants and flowers. We hope these everyday water heroes
will help encourage other Californians to increase their conservation


Now is the time for all Californians to get real about water conservation.
We need to take a critical look at our consumption habits and find ways to
cut our use, both inside and outside our home. If we all make small
reductions, we'll see big water savings for our state.


Invest in water-wise plants: When you landscape, consider replacing some
lawn with California-friendly plants. They're pretty and need much less


Less is more: Your lawn probably needs less water than you think. And your
sidewalk doesn't need any. Water less and make sure your sprinklers only
water your lawn, plants and flowers.


Watch the clock: Water early in the morning or later in the evening when
temperatures are cooler.


Out with the old, in with the new: Choose water-efficient irrigation tools
such as a weather-sensitive timer and drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs
and flowers.


Mulch much? Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce
evaporation and keep the soil cool. Organic mulch also improves the soil and
prevents weeds.


Wash Me: Clean your car by visiting a local car wash that recycles its
water. Or save water when you wash it at home by using a bucket, sponge and
hose with self-closing nozzle - or use a waterless car wash product.




Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land/fax

415 519 4810 mobile

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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