Water Sustainability: Let’s Look What California is Doing

Making Water Conservation a Way of Life in California

Tomato crops that receive underground micro irrigation on the Joe Muller and Sons farm in Woodland, CaliforniaPhil Hogan/USDA

First of all, my general field of expertise is Sustainability. Specifically, I work in Energy Management and Conservation. Basically, I help clients (currently Fisheries and Oceans Canada) find ways to decrease their impact on earth through  GHG and other resource reduction strategies.  This field is very new, with changes coming around every day from technology, legislation, and ever changing world resources and global issues. A recent trend that is taking over my professional seminars, twitter feed, and daily conversations, is water conservation. As a result of climate change and industry practices, average annual surface temperatures are increasing (which in turn increase drought conditions), wild fires are burning, and mining practices are contaminating huge underground resources of water. Just recently, Fort McMurray, a town of 90,000 people,  was evacuated due to wild fires which were started as a result of a drought (as well as other forest management practices) – clearly, water is a big issue here, and climate change has a lot to do with it.

Just like Energy Management, there is no one silver bullet to tackle anthropogenic issues such as water scarcity. A multi faceted approach, including legislation (eg. end fracking, municipal bans on watering grass lawns), behavioral change (eg. shorter showers), and capital projects (eg. new irrigation technology)  must be taken. I look forward to the challenge! There are a plethora of articles in the news and online, but the one that sticks out to me is this one from California: Making Water Conservation a Way of Life. The reason this is an important article is because the State of California has had far worse drought conditions over a longer period of time, and have had the time to develop detailed strategies to manage the issues. Canada, and BC in particular, should be looking to our neighbors down south for guidance on how to tackle water conservation.



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