Following five consecutive years of drought, California experienced record wet conditions last winter. However, state-wide government offices and agencies are aware of and continually preparing for the next swing in atmospheric conditions that will usher in another dry period. California precipitation, with particular emphasis on the Central Valley, experiences extreme variability, with snowpack averaging more than 200 percent of average for the year to date, compared to the record low statewide mountain snowpack of only five percent of average in 2015.
The potential for these wide swings in precipitation from one year to the next demonstrate the importance of being prepared for either flood or drought in any year. That preparation includes being good stewards of our water and implementing simple, yet effective, water conservation practices into our homes. This year has proven to be a wet one, but next year could be dry.
Governor of California, Edmund Brown, recently ended the drought state of emergency this April for every county except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to address diminished groundwater supplies. Even for those counties where the ban was lifted, water conservation is to remain a “California Way of Life,” maintaining water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices.
The driest four-year statewide precipitation on record, from 2012-2015, and the smallest Sierra-Cascades snowpack on record in 2015, was accompanied with extraordinary heat, making 2014-2016 the first, second and third warmest years recorded in terms of statewide average temperatures. Although the severely dry conditions that affected our area since the winter of 2011-2012 have diminished, the damage from the drought that spanned water years 2012-2016 will linger for years. The Navy must help and continue to lead the way by setting a good example and adopting good water conservation practices. We can play an important part in ensuring California is able to cope with future droughts.
Water conservation is an incredible effort. Every little amount saved helps. Don’t ever diminish the significance of your participation on this initiative. All efforts are meaningful. If many people save water, only if it is a small amount, it adds up to substantial savings. Think of how many of us live and work on NAS Lemoore. The impact of almost 14,000 people, however small the contribution, is significant.
When it comes to water conservation practices, changes start off small and usually grow into something bigger. However, they require some thought on how each of us goes about our day-to-day business. For water conservation to have an impact on the quality and quantity of our water, it needs to be a way of life and not just a fad or something we think about once in a while when water is scarce. Water conservation cannot be an afterthought to be effective.
Water is the foundation of food and life. Next to air, water is our most precious resource. Conserving water helps us preserve our environment. It reduces the energy required to process and deliver water that helps in reducing pollution and conserving fuel resources. Conserving water today means having water available in the future. Saving the water we have minimizes the effects of water shortages and helps build a better defense against future drought years. If we conserve water now, we are helping to ensure a water supply adequate for future generations. Conserving water saves the environment, preserves our way of live and saves money.
Here is what we at NAS Lemoore can do to help with water conservation:
- Mind the tap and don’t let it run. Instead, turn the water on to wet what is necessary and then shut it off. Studies have shown that if you do not leave the water running when brushing your teeth, you could save as much as nine gallons each time you brush.
- Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they are fully loaded.
- If possible, install a dual-flush toilet and a water-conserving shower head.
- If you keep your lawn, water in the morning or evening when there is less evaporation.
- Use a broom to sweep your garage and paved outdoor areas, instead of hosing them off.
- Use a spray nozzle on water hoses to restrict flow when not in use.
- Fix leaks. Leaky toilets, faucets, showers and hoses all waste water. One faucet leaking one drop per second can waste 2,400 gallons of water per year. That is 13 years' worth of drinking water for one person. For work spaces, call Public Works Trouble Desk at (559) 998-4123. For Lincoln Housing repairs, call (888) 578-4141.
- Conscientiously recycle everything accepted for recycling, both at work and at home. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 mature trees and 7,000 gallons of water. Call the NAS Lemoore Recycling Center if you have additional questions concerning recycling at (559) 998-3229.
Help conserve water. It will save you money and help save the environment for us all.