Get serious about drought
- February 16, 2014
When it comes to the current drought, the North Coast is doing its part, and ready to do more.
You may have seen the front page of the Times-Standard on Tuesday, and the regional rankings for water usage per capita.
At 110 gallons per day, Humboldt County is on the good end of the list. We use less water than the North Coast -- 160 -- and less than the state average, 196.
We only wish the same could be said of our fellow Californians to the south.
And no, we're not talking about San Francisco, which edged us out for lowest in the state. Or any region further south along the coast, really, from San Jose to San Diego.
Even much-maligned Los Angeles, thanks to decades of conservation, uses only 152 gallons per capita per day.
Only lawn-loving Hillsborough and statistical freak industrial city Vernon -- with its 112 residents, 1,800 businesses, and per capita usage rate of over 94,000 gallons a day -- mar coastal California's otherwise admirable stats.
It's the inland regions of California that are sucking down water. Let's start with Sacramento. The Golden State's capital city is setting a poor example when the majority of its residents don't even have water meters.
And then there's Palm Springs. The desert resort town gulps down 736 gallons of water per capita per day, mostly on swimming pools and vast expanses of lawn that have no business being there in the first place. Wonderful idea, transplanting a game from the mists of Scotland into the scorching heat of the California desert.
Get it together, California. This is the worst drought in recorded history of the state. We here in the North Coast can and will do more to conserve, but everyone needs to be on board. Especially if, as some scientists fear, we're on the cusp of a megadrought -- a dry spell that could last 100 or 200 years.
”We continue to run California as if the longest drought we are ever going to encounter is about seven years,” Scott Stine, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State East Bay, said recently. “We're living in a dream world.”
Time to wake up.