Water Matters

The need to ensure a sustainable water supply is a reality that affects everyone.  Currently, the state of California is split over the issue of whether or not to support an $11 billion water bond that will be on the November 2010 state-wide ballot, according to the New York Times.  The bond is supported by many businesses and prominent politicians, construction companies and irrigation districts, as well as some non profit groups such as the Nature Conservancy, National Heritage Institute, and Audubon California.  On the opposing side are many groups such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the River, and Clean Water Action, who claim that the bond will do little to ensure water sustainability in the long-term.

Grand Coulee DamThe New York Times reports that the bond will fund billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades such as new dams, reservoirs, canals, and water- and sewage-treatment facilities.  Solutions for endangered salmon and the potential privatization of water reservoirs form part of the debate.

While some claim that more infrastructure would broaden water resources, opponents claim that the bond does little to promote sustainable water usage.  Further, the No On The Water Bond Association ( insists that the bond would create more debt burden for Californians for an inefficient system that may damage downstream ecosystems.  Also, only a little over 2% of the bond would fund conservation programs.

waste facilityThe real answer to the question of sustainability is not simply building more waste treatment facilities, suggests the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Citizens must become more responsible water users.  This means that conservation must begin at home through living green and funding initiatives that get to the root of the problem as opposed to building over it.

We need to look no further than Habitat for Humanity’s Green Living Initiative in Tucson.  The initiative has established a gray water system, which allows users with the turn of a handle the option of draining faucet/shower waters into their lawns/gardens as opposed to the sewers.

Teacher and student on a lesson.Education about the importance of water conservation should start in schools, which are enormous consumers of water.  The EPA offers assistance to educators through programs such as ‘Tools for Schools’ which offer “background information for teachers and several student activities introducing water conservation principles”.

The water crisis began due to a lack of knowledge and respect for sustainable practices; we cannot afford to let it end the same way.

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1 Comment

  1. Jerry
    June 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    The bond is the result of the worst bit of sausage making in Sacramento in memory. There are many reasons to vote against the bond. Here are a few: 1. The debt service on the bond will reach $800 million per year out of the General Fund and that will come right out of education, law enforcement, social services, etc. 2. The so-called “water crisis” is a manufactured crisis by corporate agricultural interests who want the taxpayer to pay for more economically and environmentally disastrous dams. 3. There are $8 billion worth of water bonds (Props 84 and 1E) previously approved still unsold. 4. There is close to $2 billion in pure pork (handed out to legislators to get their vote to put this turkey on the ballot) in the bond. 5. $3 Billion is allocated for new storage facilities with a limited list of alternatives including new dams. The decision maker on what facilities will get built is the California Water Commission. That commission has been defunct for years and had no members until Schwarzenegger appointed 9 of his cronies in mid-May 2010. Those folks will do what Arnold wants, which probably won’t make economic or environmental sense. 6. The bond provides that if a new dam is funded by the Water Commission the funds may go to an entity that includes “nongovernmental partners”. That is legislative lingo for privatization of the State Water Project; a very bad idea!! 7. The bond potentially provides as much as $4.5 Billion for new storage projects (i.e. dams) but only a maximum of $2 Billion for soft path measures such as conservation and recycling. That has backwards. See and join the fight against the bond.

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