The Governor of California has ordered mandatory water use restrictions for the first time ever. Local supply agencies are to impose severe cutbacks that affect homeowners, farmers and other businesses.
Residents will have to change the way they think about water consumption. And it’s not just a California issue. Significant cuts to agriculture will likely result in increased food prices for everybody.
Waste Not, Want Not
Already, there’s plenty of discussion about who needs to save what. Homeowners point to alfalfa farmers, farmers point to almond growers, orchard owners point to golf courses, and so it goes on. The trouble is, everyone is going to have to make sacrifices if the water simply isn’t going to run out.
Part of the problem is caused by water waste, and some of this is because of the sorry condition of our water infrastructure. Water loss through leaks and other failures account for hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water. As pipes continue to deteriorate, the problem simply gets worse.
To address this, some providers are replacing old pipes using new ones made of corrosive material. In our view, this isn’t a smart solution; it’s simply kicking the can down the road. While some may see this as a means of keeping costs down, the fact is that maintenance costs will quickly outweigh any dubious, ephemeral benefit. Corroding pipes will soon fail again.
Every Drop Counts
It’s time for politicians, local authorities and utility companies to stop kicking the can down the road and make sure the pipes they use to restore the water distribution infrastructure are non-corrosive, long-lasting and fully up to the task of eliminating leakage.
Of course, this alone won’t solve California’s water shortage. But every drop of precious water saved is a drop that doesn’t have to be withheld from the residents, farmers and businesses that sorely need it.