Finally the ‘Experts’ have declared Level II drought conditions in San Diego. I really don’t understand why it took so long to declare -the controversy over water has been going on for years on end. What upsets me the most: people who say, I will stop using water when they stop building, people that over- water their yard, people that are using water to wash down patios and driveways and the worst… is the amount of unused water in water bottles littering our beaches and roads. It sickens me to see the waste of water, when 11% of the world does not access to potable water. I feel for farmers and ranchers that are penalized for so people like my neighbor Nick, who washes down his patio, his stairs and sidewalk every week. I feel for the 17,000+ unemployed people due to this side effects of drought in California so my neighbor Ron can can power wash his patio. I don’t feel for my aunt, who complains about the price of food as she is drinking her bottled water.
Drought no matter where it is affects each and every one of us globally. Just looking at California:
- Economy in California will have a $2.2 Billion loss due to ongoing dry spell.
- The California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC) estimates the drought could take a $5 billion dollar bite out of an industry that brings in $44.7 billion annually.
- about 17,1000 seasonal and part time jobs.
- State Parks are closing or limiting showers and toilet flushing.
- Farmers and Ranchers are penalized the most, letting fields go fallow and not raising livestock. When farmers and ranchers cannot produce…. Farm Failures will result.
- 428,000 acres of irrigated cropland has gone out of production, mostly in California’s Central Valley, Central Coast and in Southern Ca (Source)
- This means more people out of work, higher prices at the grocery store. Less income to the cities and states, which affects statewide spending and budgets.
- Sadly, the drought will effect organic farmers and rancher the most.
- A single burger takes 660 gallons (2,500 liters) of water to produce, with much of that used to irrigate livestock feed (Source)
Pricing Increases: (Source)
- Starbucks is raising prices due to drought in Brazil. by 1-8%
- 28 % increase for avocados. In San Diego alone, one of the top producers of Avocados, it is estimated that 10,000 Avocado trees are lying fallow. Avocados likely to go up by 17 to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
- Berries likely to rise by 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
- Broccoli likely to go up by 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
- Grapes likely to rise by 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
- Lettuce likely to rise by 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
- Packaged salad likely to go up by 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
- Peppers likely to go up by 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
- Tomatoes likely to rise by 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.
First lets take the amount of plastic bottles on the beach. I pick an average of 75 plastic bottles a day. Water bottles comprise about half and of that half, 1/3 of those water bottles have water and some have never been opened.
- One litre of bottled water can take up to 5 litres of water to produce it. The packaging alone can account for 3 liters of water.
- 1.39 liters to make one liter of water.
- 1 liter of soda requires 2.02 liters of water to make. over 50% of the soda bottles I pick up have content.
- 1 liter of beer requires 4 liters of water.
- Tap water costs about $0.002 a gallon, while bottled water costs $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon.
Solution: Buy a reusable water bottle, fill it with tap water and take it home.
Hotels and Restaurants
Both hotels and restaurants waste a lot of water: In the USA, the first thing servers do is pour water. Since I carry a water bottle, I ask them not to do or pour directly into my bottle. That way, I don’t leave any waste water behind. I don’t know how many water is wasted in restaurants, but if you look that there are 4, 000 restaurants in San Diego alone. If you average that at least 10 gallons a day of water is thrown away from water glasses that is 40,000 gallons of water a day wasted. How far could that 40,000 gallons go toward our farmers?
I had some friends stay at the La Valencia hotel in La Jolla, several weeks ago. There was NO SIGN to save water, reuse towels etc. I was appalled at that and told one of the managers because they were not into water conservation, I would not recommend this hotel again.
Solution: Only ask for water if you are going to drink it. Take a reusable bottle and fill that. Make water conservation a priority at hotels.
Neighborhood Water Abuse: You have all seen it, neighbors watering in the middle of the day, washing cars and driveways, water leaks, water runoffs. One of the hardest things to do is confront your neighbors. I had one neighbor tell me, well so and so does it so why shouldn’t I. I had another neighbor tell me, that when they stop building they will start rationing. How selfish is that? I don’t know what the solution is, I know what I do and will continue to do. First, I leave an anonoymous note on the door, to let them know about the leak, the over watering and whatnot. I haven’t got to phase 2 yet, which will be, a printed piece of paper telling them about mandatory water rationing. Phase 3 will be another note, about how they effect prices and the economy. Phase 4 will be the personal request and if that doesn’t work, I will take pictures and report them.
There are 100’s of ways to save water every day. Installing low flush toilets, not running tap water, planting native plants, aerating. See our list of Ways to Save Water. Believe it or not you will not die if you take a 3 minute shower. You will not die if you only water 2x a week. You will not die if you only wash your car 1x per month. You will not die if you only run the dishwasher or washing machine if it is full. You will not die if you can’t drive a car. But you will die if you don’t have water.
- The Water Project
- Mashable: California Drought
- 100+ Ways to Conserve Water
- American Water
- Water Smart San Diego
- Drought Monitor