There is an old saying, “whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.” These days this saying is becoming very true. In Oklahoma, the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes are fighting the state of Oklahoma over water on tribal land. Oklahoma agreed to sell storage rights to 90% of the lake but since the lake is on tribal lands the tribes feel they should have a say.
After a record breaking drought in Oklahoma, and many surrounding states, this issue is an even more pressing one. Many of Oklahoma’s towns are concerned about water. Much of the state was under water restrictions during the summer. And with the drought even more water was needed, making the issue even worse.
Texas is also in trouble. Two Texas towns have run out of water and many others are running out. This video from PBS shows just how bad things have gotten and talk about the connection between the water issues and climate change.
Over the past several days Oklahoma and parts of Texas have gotten a lot of rain. This rain will be essential as many believe this coming summer will be another hot one. At this rate many will be forced to conserve water and drastic measures may have to be taken.
While there is no easy fix to this problem, we can each do something to help. Waiting to conserve when it becomes dire is not the way to do it. We can, and should, start conserving now. Here are some simple ways to reduce your water usage.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and/or shaving. In just one year this simple action will save over 2,880 gallons a year.
- Skip bottled water. Using a reusable water bottle and filtered tap water can save a lot of water. Did you know it takes around seven liters of water to produce a one liter bottle of water? In one year of skipping bottled water will save around 580 gallons a year.
- Install a low-flow shower head. This will save around 4,550 gallons a year.
- Use recycled paper products. It takes a lot of water to produce paper products but recycled ones require much less. This action saves around 640 gallons a year.
- If you are going to water your lawn do so in the morning or evening. If you water during the hot part of the day a lot of the water will evaporate. This will save around 4,500 gallons a year.
- Do Meatless Monday. Meat requires a lot of water. Skipping meat just one day a week can save over 170,000 gallons a year.
- Install faucet aerator. These cheap devices can save you around 1,000 glass a year.
- Get a rain barrel. The amount you will save depends on a lot of factors but it is a good investment. Depending on your roof the water may or may not be good for food but if nothing else it’s good for flowers and other non-edible plants. You can also put grey water in your rain barrel. Simple things like putting a bucket in the shower and either putting the water on your plants or in your rain barrel can really add up.
Water is going to become more and more of an issue as temperatures rise, droughts become more common and population rates rise. We are going to have to work together to fix these issues.
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