Water Wastage in California

Clarissa Guardado, Staff Reporter

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The average American uses 80-100 gallons a day, 10,000 gallon a year. Wasting water is an issue that we are currently experienceing here in the United States.   Especially in California where an extreme shortage of water, a drought, is affecting us and leaving us to take measures into our own hands.  The main cause of all of this is that people don’t know how to save water, and some people aren’t even aware they are wasting it. To help save water, Californians can start off by spreading the word around to their neighbors, family members and work associates.  What word is that? The importance of saving water and why it is essential to do so.

Many people wonder why California can’t just turn the ocean water into drinking water.  This process is called desalination and it takes ocean water, removes the salt in it, and turns it into drinking water. Even though this is a possible solution to the drought California is in, it has raised a few concerns. When intaking sea water through the process, it can suck in eggs and small creatures, killing the sea life in the ocean. Mr. Weber, an AP Environmental Science teacher at BCCHS, states that the desalination plants are “too expensive and they require too much energy.” Researching this, it turns out that it takes approximately $25,000 a month to produce enough water for 1,200 homes.

Not only is our water shortage already causing a major issue, but it turns out that the U.S. is also having a shortage of ground water from people pumping out too much water. The San Joaquin Valley for instance, is one of the areas in California that is over-pumping their groundwater which has caused the ground to sink. In the span of 50 years, water pumping for irrigation has led to nearly 30 feet of subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley. Mr. Marsden, a current physical geology teacher at BCCHS, commented, “We’re using the water faster than its recharging.” Once the ground level has sunk, it can’t be brought back up.

Why is saving water so crucial you may ask? Saving water protects our ecosystem and helps with the survival of many endangered species. When you save water, you could end up saving thousands of gallons of water every year and a whole lot of money.

How can Birmingham save water? By observing, you can see that Birmingham does waste a lot of water especially to keep our fields green, and they don’t seem to be making much of an effort to save water. Mr. Marsden made it clear that Birmingham does have a few lawns on campus that aren’t used for anything but are still being watered. Mr. Marsden thinks that Birmingham should have a drip irrigation system, and he explained that it prevents water from flooding and keeps the water from the sprinklers from going on the sidewalks and going to waste. He also said that Birmingham could also be finding a way to capture the rain water to water the lawns and plants.

How can student and their families save water at home? Students and families could do the simplest things to help save water. Families could start off by using low flow shower heads and toilets, and doing other things such as running full loads of laundry and limiting their shower time.

Some people wonder what the future has in store for us. How will California react to this drought in the future? Mr. Weber believes that the rainwater will help restore the water supply, but then after that, we will have the same problem again. He also believes that the El Niño winter can restore the shortage of water due to California’s drought if we do ever get the anticipated El Niño. Mr. Marsden says that California has the structures and dams to hold water, but he’s against the building of dams because it causes damage to the environment. If we don’t take measures now and help California restore its water, who knows how California will end up in a few years?