Water Conservation: The Neighborly Thing To Do

We are all in this together.

Last week NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti published an op-ed article in the LA Times concerning the severe water crisis in California.  It’s not for the faint hear-ted. We are in serious danger. Towards the end of his writ he says this:

“Finally, the public must take ownership of this issue.This crisis belongs to all of us — not just to a handful of decision-makers. Water is our most important, commonly owned resource, but the public remains detached from discussions and decisions.”

We are all in this together.

As responsible citizens I put the challenge out to each of us this year to become conscious of our water issues as Mr. Famiglietti admonished.  The probability that our plight will continue for a few years is high, and conserving water isn’t just some Greenpeace, hippie, Sierra Club, feel nice kind of gig – it is a community effort, a neighborly consideration, and in our current crisis, water conservation is a civic duty.

We are all in this together.

Last year, ours was the only brown lawn in the cul-de-sac.  I hope there are more this year.   As a ‘neighbor’, I know that there are homes in the outlying areas who must water their yards because those green patches are the only fire break to their precious houses.  I am willing to have a brown yard so that others can afford that fire break.

We are all in this together.

As Mr. Famiglietti notes in his editorial, Central Valley farmers are depleting ground water wells at a rapid pace since reservoirs can no longer provide their water needs. This means our neighbors down south are losing their drinking and cooking water.   I am willing to make use of my grey water for the few houseplants and outside herbs that I have in order to keep as much water as possible going to those further south whose well water is gone.  I am willing to give up gardening – fresh tomatoes, gorgeous yellow summer squash, and crisp green beans – in order that fields of tomatoes and artichokes and zucchini get water, that way we all eat.

We are all in this together.

This fall the California Department of Fish and Game will take over the water rights and control the flow of water from Shasta Dam so that the salmon run from the San Joaquin delta remains in tact and viable (Its the price we pay for damming our waterways).   I am willing to forgo the beautifully manicured landscape of local businesses in order that this important natural phenomenon continues to occur, as it has done for hundreds of years before we arrived.

We are all in this together.

I know that many people in my area are going to be suffering financially from the water crisis.   Hundreds of independent landscapers will find themselves unable to mow brown lawns.  Local hospitality industries have already seen a decline in summer tourism the past two years since Lake Shasta, a house boating mecca, has been desperately low.  I will need to be sensitive to an increase in unemployment in my area and perhaps a recessive local economy.


(My husband and I and the locally known “Three Shastas.”  That is 

we are standing on Shasta Dam, with Shasta Lake and Mt. Shasta in the

background. 02/15)

We are all in this together.

Water is a universal need and for the most part we northern Californians tend to take for granted the proximity of the Sacramento River to meet our water requirements.   Now however, it is time to reconsider what our requirements really are.  It is absolutely the neighborly thing to do.

Here’s to brown lawns and dead flowers!


About Frankie Wallace

Frankie earned her BA in History from CSU Chico. Her writing includes current events as well as self published fiction and a children's book she is publishing. She lives in northern California with one husband, two dogs, and three boys. Frankie is an avid cooker, reader, hiker, and napper. View all posts by Frankie Wallace

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