So here I am filling out CALGreen forms for one of our projects and thinking about the water conservation measures. Water is something I have some familiarity with being both a life-long bass fisherman, a lover of riparian areas, and an amateur herpetologist. For me water is a fantastic and precious resource and I am a staunch supporter of preserving any and all natural riparian areas, but I see no reason to ration water. Waste of any resource is offensive to me, but why use less than we desire (unless saving it for a dryer day ahead)? Greenspeak sounds good, but the reason behind the talk is the same as for most human endeavors – the bottom line is money. The way to get more money is to have more people contributing to the stash. More people need more water – a simple formula, but one with a catch. You can see the catch if you peer into the future a few generations. It’s not people themselves, it’s the physical impact that each additional person has on the world around them – often called the human footprint. According to National Geographic, in the average lifetime each American will:
· use 1.8 million gallons of water
· burn 31,350 gallons of gasoline
· discard 64 tons of garbage to landfills
· use 29,700 pounds of plastic
· use 43,371 aluminum cans
· etcetera, etcetera, etcetera
Why in the world would anyone want to save a few thousand gallons of water in trade for this? Why not focus on the actual problem and save more than a million gallons of water and a plethora of other resources as well? Conserving water is actually detrimental to the environment because the more we conserve (and the more we sacrifice) the more people we can accommodate. Conserving water may make some of us feel better about ourselves – but all we’re really doing is making way for more human footprints in tomorrow’s mud.