Do you watch your lawn slowly crisp and turn brown? Do you place buckets under your faucets to catch every spare drop of water? Are you trying not to sweat because you’ve reduced your showers to two a week? (yuck!)
These are just a few of the ideas LA Times readers sent to us when we asked them to tell us how they conserve water. It’s a pressing matter, with water authorities in Southern California announcing new restrictions to deal with drought and reduced water supplies.
And while many readers called on Californians to make major lifestyle changes, others offered common-sense advice or familiar new ideas that reduce the amount of water that leaks.
More than a few of you noted that individual water conservation, while valuable, is not enough, and argued that policy makers need to do more. For example, Christiane Badgley of Long Beach wrote, “We need massive change. [The] The LA Times recently wrote about Israel’s water reuse and cutting-edge drip irrigation – that’s where California needs to go. And we need to raise water prices enough to discourage agribusiness from growing alfalfa and other thirsty crops.
It is complicated. Agriculture is an important part of California’s economy, and crops such as alfalfa, rice, and almonds are like the other foods we eat – their production requires water. Agriculture is by far the largest user of water in California. Kelly Sanders, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC, told The Times last year that about 80% of the water used in the state is for agriculture. The rest is mostly urban use, she said.
What’s abundantly clear, however, is that Southern California doesn’t have an abundance of water — and probably won’t for some time, if ever.
Here’s how LA Times readers are adjusting. Got more ideas? Send them to us.