By Franck Ardourel, @
Is the California drought impacting only Californians? Unfortunately not. The lack of water in California is just a drop in this red ocean. Colorado has been heavily affected by climate change and the consequences of California’s drought. Concerns have been raised about the Colorado River, which is a primary source of water for many surrounding states including Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Many states in the Western region have been facing water shortages of one kind or another in recent years. While California has reached a very critical stage after four years of severe rain and snowfall shortages, other states are not far behind. The frightening part of the current shortage of water is that it will not get better.
The Colorado River basin provides critical water supplies for several states including California. It is a hugely important water resource that sustains 40 million people in those above states, supports 15 percent of the nation’s food supply, and fills two of largest water reserves in the country. One can see that water is NOT ONLY a problem in California but is likely a result of a domino effect that goes beyond just a shortage of rain.
But while states’ water shortages share commonalities and have some effect on one another, the issues are not necessarily similar. The severe situation in California has hurt the $46 billion agricultural industry, and helped raise national awareness of the longer-term risks related to climate change. As a result, last month California state officials announced the first cutback to farmers’ water rights since 1977, and ordered cities and towns to cut water use by as much as 36 percent. Those who don’t comply with the cuts will face fines. A recent study by University of California-Davis researchers projected that the drought would cost California’s economy $2.7 billion in 2015 alone. Beyond the economic costs, the drought also affects flora and fauna throughout the region.
But more importantly, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists predict that it could take several years of average or above-average rainfall before California’s water supply can return to anything close to normal. Although it’s far from feasible that we will be able to reverse the climate change process, nevertheless I truly believe that we can take significant steps to act more sustainably and make a positive difference. Those who think that the current drought is a singular event that will pass, need to think again. We all now must behave more diligently. Much of our current and essential water reserves are lost, overused, or wasted, and that is a fact that we must address now.
So, let’s wake up together and work on making our organization, city, school, business, state, and nation better and more sustainable. Let’s share, think, and inspire others to make our entire society more environmentally conscientious. At REV we believe that together we can change things for the better. Our Sustainability Circle® program empowers leaders and employees to improve the way we do business by helping embed sustainable practices across the organization. In creating a results-driven customized Sustainability Action Plan, change leaders can make the business case for implementing both large and small-scale initiatives whose impact will be more than just a drop in the bucket – not only for water savings, but in energy, gas, and waste reduction costs as well.
As a result of participating in a Sustainability Circle, Shaklee was able to reduce water consumption at their headquarters by 3.03 million gallons over a 10-month period. A switch to weather-based, web-accessible irrigation controllers at 23 City parks is projected to save the City of Chula Vista an estimated 825,400 gallons of water annually, and through better irrigation management and technology, Metropolitan Golf Links projects an annual savings of 2,681,320 gal. water. Individually, these efforts won’t solve California’s water shortage. But collectively, over the long term, the impact of these and other organizations and municipalities will have a tremendous effect. [You can read more about these success stories here.]