California’s water shortage has now become a crisis and many cities throughout the state are mandating rationing.
A Water Wise Expo was held at the Mar Vista Recreation Center on July 21 to help educate the community on steps they can take during the crisis and permanently to help conserve water.
Kevin McDonald from Al Gore’s Climate Project pointed out that the United States consumes more water than any other nation with an average consumption of 151 gallons used per person per day. California is the United States’ largest consumer of water due to its large population and because “it is one of the largest food producers in the world.”
McDonald also explained that there are two different types of water use in California. One is called blue water which is the water we use as individuals and the other type is green water that is used for agriculture. “Today the two demands on the water supply are starting to compete with each other.” Therefore, “seemingly inconsequential decisions we make in our homes are now intimately linked to agriculture.” Water shortages are causing farms to fail and ultimately this will affect the state’s economy. He encouraged homeowners to change their landscaping methods because this is a way of lowering residential water demands without seriously impacting individuals’ lifestyles.
Green Gardens Group’s Pamela Berstler also spoke. She stressed the need to use sustainable landscaping practices, water conservation, and storm water pollution prevention techniques by individual homeowners. She recommended smart irrigation controllers which turn water sprinklers on and off based on weather patterns. She also suggested using rain barrels and creek beds to collect rainwater to prevent storm water runoff pollution. Other recommendations were utilizing infiltration pits to collect rainwater, planting native California plants, and planting more trees.
Longtime environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. who has a T.V. show on the environment called Living With Ed also spoke. He stressed that individuals have to “do what they can afford today. It’s good for your bottom line that other important green.” He noted that “its been said for years that whiskey is for drinking and water is fighting” as he alluded to the possible future fights over water between California municipalities and elsewhere.
Begley, like Berstler, emphasized that Southern Californians “need to respect the fact that we live in a semi-arrid environment.” This means we like him need to give up our lawns because they require too much water to sustain. Instead, we, need to plant a drought tolerant garden. He concluded his remarks by cheering all the attendees on by saying “We can do this” if we give up a lot of our preconceived notions about lawns and water use.