• Drought Or Crisis: Drinking Water And Garden Irrigation

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    There's been a lot of scary news on the drought front lately. In the midst of its third dry year in a row (and what's shaping up to be the driest in 500 years), California faces worsening wildfires and drinking water shortages. The state will likely have to rely on dirty and costly fossil fuels instead of hydropower for energy. Plus, because the state is the nation's largest agricultural producer and international exporter, California's crisis will have severe economic implications for the entire country, including raising the price of your favorite produce.Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on water supply options that are now tapped out, and a recent survey showed that Californians are unwilling to invest in any new infrastructure or programs. Are we doomed?There might be some hope. A new report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pacific Institute highlights some solutions that could easily be implemented by using strategies already in place. The researchers behind The Untapped Potential of California's Water Supply evaluated current systems and found that between 10.8 and 13.7 million acre-feet of water—enough to supply more water than is currently used in all of California's cities—could be provided by addressing agricultural and urban efficiency, increased use of treated waste water, and storm-water capture.

    California is suffering drought conditions and the weather forecast indicates that this may continue for some time. It’s the worst drought in 40 years, and farmers are already warning of shrivelled crops and food price rises. With some reservoirs at only 20% of their usual capacity farmers such as Paul Van Leer are not optimistic:

    “I have never seen it this bad. Everyone is feeling it. We’re looking out of the window wondering when it is going to come. We’re in the heart of a rainy season right now, and if we don’t get it in the 30 to 45 day window, we’re pretty much done,” he said in an interview with Sky News US.

    As all well know it’s not only drought that can affect our water supply. Any interruption of power, or any form of breakdown is liable to have an effect on our water supply within a couple …

    Fixing a plastic bag around the leaves on the end of a tree branch will get you a drink. Condensation will collect inside the bag, cut the corner off and drain into a cup or jar. Leave the corner open to air during the day and at nightfall roll the open corner up and fix with one of those plastic clips used to keep food in open bags fresh.Ever walked through grass in the early morning and cursed when your jeans are soaking? Dew is a valuable water source. Throwing down a microfibre towel onto dew covered grass will allow you to absorb enough for a sponge bath. Unlike regular towels microfibre soaks up many times its own weight in water. They are very light and roll into really small, ideal for multiple uses they should be in every survival kit.

    Storm water is often cast off from “developed land and urban centers as quickly as possible.” The freshwater runoff could be used to recharge depleted groundwater or for “other non-potable” applications: “Our assessment indicates that capturing storm water from paved surfaces and rooftops in urbanized Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area can increase average annual water supplies by 420,000 to 630,000 acre-feet or more each year, while also reducing both flooding and a leading cause of surface water pollution in the state.”

    So, is this all too good to be true? Perhaps. “There are always barriers. Lack of knowledge is a barrier, lack of financial incentives is a barrier,” Gleick explains. “The good news is we know these things work. We know how to capture this potential…The question is will we? And that is a question you need to ask the governor, the legislature, and the local water districts.”

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