The Desert Sun newspaper’s editorial “Drought solutions must be broad based” states Coachella Valley cheap and plentiful water supplies have “lulled our desert community into a false sense of security. New policies that drive customers to smart water use should be what’s on tap today.” And that “…..all stakeholders from the homeowner or apartment dweller to the farmer planting thousands of acres rethink how they use water.
It’s true that residents throughout the state need to rethink our approaches to water usage and how to cope with the prospect of continuing drought situations. But that rethinking needs to start at the local level here in Coachella Valley. This is where we should focus our efforts and by example prove we too care about water usage and related drought issues.
Perhaps among water issues on the top of our list should be a focus on grass (or “turf”). What should be our future approach to this important part of our local economy and quality of life? Should grass have any role in our desert world? Is it practical to import water for maintenance of pleasurable environments as well as for the grass-supported economy?
In the Palm Springs and Cathedral City communities served by Desert Water Agency there are new water rules now in place. There’s also a strong water conservation ordinance that was enacted by the City of Palm Springs in November. Together the new water usage regulations now in effect severely limit the amount of water that may be used for maintenance of grass (or “turf”). Watering grass is now restricted to three times weekly, after 7 p.m., and no more than 15 minutes for any area.
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has mandated that most of the Coachella Valley’s water usage be cut back 36%. It’s for that reason the latest local restriction are now in place. Water districts must meet their assigned water usage goals or face significant financial penalties. Some have questioned whether one of the SWRCB water conservation goals is to reduce or eliminate most, if not all, watering of grass in the valley? What appears more certain is that the new watering restrictions may achieve that result.
It’s obvious we need to rethink our use of water. Unfortunately there is no citizen panel, commission or agency that exists to foster the rethinking process. Should not some aspect of the rethinking process be coordinated and/or encouraged by an organized approach? Would not a community water conservation panel be an appropriate step that each of our local agencies, governments and/or communities should consider starting or creating? Surely the immediate goal must be to motivate residents to not only conserve but also to become involved in seeking and implementing solutions. If we fail in the people motivation goal how else will success be achieved without significantly and adversely affecting our quality of life?
So, when will the actual rethinking process begin?
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