With the firestorm that swept through Southern California now under control, state officials are turning their attention to an even more serious, long-term problem that will most likely affect not only California, but also several states, including Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Florida, and Georgia.
The concern? Water. Several states are facing severe water shortages, and experts now say the problem is not the result of just a "dry year." Instead, the shortages are resulting from several situations, including:
- California and other western states are experiences one of the driest years in history. As of October 2007, San Diego has received less than 40 percent of its normal precipitation.
- Some experts believe we are entering an extended period of drought, similar to the 1930s "Dust Bowl," which lasted for almost a decade.
- The Sierra snow pack, which provides water for many California reservoirs, is the lowest its been in more than 20 years.
- The capacity of the two largest reservoirs filled by the Colorado River is only at 51 percent.
"Although the entire country is taking green and environmental issues more seriously today than ever before, water conservation does not appear to be one of them," says Klaus Reichardt, managing partner at Waterless Co. LLC.
For instance, as much as 60 percent of U.S. water is used just for outdoor landscaping, amounting to more than 19 trillion gallons of water annually. Much of this water is used on landscapes in states with dry, desert climates. As much as 20 percent of the remaining water in the United States is used for flushing toilets and urinals. Fortunately, new developments in water-conserving technologies are helping to reduce this demand.
A bill, now being considered in California, that could affect the industry worldwide would reduce the amount of water used to flush toilets from the current 1.6 gallons to 1.3 gallons per flush. Some states, such as Arizona, now require waterless urinals to be installed in all state buildings, which can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
"What we need now is greater realization that water must be used wisely and carefully, with people voluntarily cutting back on water use," says Reichardt. "This, along with employing new water reducing technologies, will help us deal with the coming water challenges."
Vista, CA- based Waterless Co. LLC has been serving the building, plumbing, and janitorial industry for more than 15 years.