Cambrians, according to a recent thorough investigative report in The Tribune, are the best water conservers in the county. We’re the only community that is conserving well beyond the governor’s 20 percent savings mandate — in the 30 to 40 percent range.
But it doesn’t look like our water miserliness is likely to (or can) end anytime soon, even if the brackish water recycling system we are initiating at great cost can supply what it hopes to — up to 30 percent of our daily needs.In a new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey, the odds of a 10-year drought affecting the Southwestern U.S. have now increased to 80 percent! And the odds of a 30-year drought have increased to 50 percent!
To anyone living on the Central Coast or anywhere in California, this should be a true wake-up call.
And now our region has gotten the rather unwelcome publicity I was afraid it might in a big story in the Aug. 29 Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal circulates nationally and internationally and has millions of readers.The story is graphic and detailed about wells declining or drying up altogether in the Templeton/Paso Robles area and quotes area residents and a county supervisor. The piece also shows stressed regions of California in addition to ours and discusses our water district controversy and recent legislation to force Californians to conserve.
A book published in 2014 by the Edge Foundation called “What Should We Be Worried About?” has more than 100 short chapters written by eminent scientists and pundits. I was surprised that none mentioned the term “drought,” though there are several chapters on global warming. (So don’t feel too guilty that you didn’t see this coming.)
If our town runs out of water before a partial technological fix, you need to be aware that the immediate aftermath would likely be tourism shutting down, homeowners losing their fire insurance and property values plummeting. Bottled water won’t solve our clothes washing, toilet flushing or bathing needs. (Though you’d better have plenty of that on hand.)
Surely, the opponents of the Emergency Water Project do not want this to happen.
As many of you know (and nearly 100 of you have seen firsthand), I collect rainwater. I have been very reluctant to let go of much these past couple of years. Those who assume that rainwater harvesting makes little sense when very little rain seems imminent are simply wrong. Your roof surfaces can capture (and rain gutters and downspouts can route) thousands of gallons of relatively pure water to cisterns or storage tanks even if storms are light. (I know one person who even collects hundreds of gallons just from dew on a metal roof!)
So rain (or moisture!) falling out of the sky could still be your best option for self-protection.
Recently, I’ve started thinking about whether there is any way such water can be piped, purified and pressurized —the 3 P’s — into domestic plumbing to supply all or most of our needs. (Were there such a system, it doesn’t appear there is any county code that would prohibit it.)
And guess what? A rainwater-based alternative water supply plumbed into your home exists in the form of a refrigerator-sized unit that appears to do it all! It’s not available in the states yet. The European company contacted me when it discovered one of my articles online. I may order one myself eventually, as it appears promising. In the meantime, I will keep you informed of this development if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line “Rainwater.”
In the meantime, pray for rain! And plan to collect every drop when it DOES rain.