As a girl from the Pacific Northwest I never really thought all that much about water except that we have a lot of it! In the Seattle area, it rains ALL the time, we have oceans nearby and the mountains have snow which melts down into the rivers. Water is everywhere! Everything is green. Moss even grows on the rocks!
I love the water! My boyfriend and I are sailors so we spend lots of time on it. We have been sailing in the San Juan Islands throughout this last summer and we are now planning on taking professional sailing training so that we can be on the water full time!
Our training will be held in Gibraltar so we are traveling from the Pacific Northwest across the country to Florida so that we can fly out of Jacksonville. We are taking our time traveling across the country so that we can see the parts of it that interest us. So far, we have traveled from Washington state, down into Oregon and California. We like to take the back roads so we can see the lesser travelled areas.
Being water lovers, we are always looking for lakes to paddle or camp nearby. Imagine our surprise as we came upon the first lake where there was no water! Just a dry lake bed. And then we saw another and another. The lakes that did have water were 50% or less of their normal size and most of the rivers were a mere trickle compared to their former robust glory. When we stopped for gas near the second dry lake, we asked the gentleman serving us “Where did all the water go?” He said that it went dry back in the 50’s when they started tapping into the water for irrigating nearby crops.
(Washoe “Lake” This is a boat ramp into a grass field.)
Further south in the valley near Bishop, CA I was told stories about big cities coming over the mountains to buy land and water rights – only to funnel all of that precious water out of the valley into the Los Angeles area.
So here’s the thing….I’m no expert. I don’t have all the answers. I just know what I’ve seen. I don’t know if this is happening because of global warming, or overuse, or unfair redistribution but it sure looks to me like this problem is only getting worse.
So here is my challenge to you: Find out what you can do. Get real about how much water you use. There are water conservation districts in your area – find out what they suggest. Find out where your water comes from! This is a matter of public record. Don’t just take the easy answer – go at least 3 steps back to find the original source of water. Challenge your neighbors and friends to conserve water as well. BUY A REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE. As far as I’m concerned, the single use bottles should be banned. Find out what you can do and DO IT.
Water is our most precious resource. We must respect it. Without it we die.