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Five Red Flags That Will Motivate You To Conserve Water


The new water norm is we are either moving into a drought or out of a drought. (For all baseball fans out there, this is like hitting – You are either coming out of a slump or heading into a slump.) In early February several red flag warnings indicate we are moving quickly into a drought. We need to take notice of these signs and act quickly to avoid a near-term water crisis.

Snowpack Data

The Western snowpack and water supply conditions coming from the United States Department of Agriculture are alarming. Most of the state of Arizona had multiple months with no measurable precipitation. Snowpack ranged from 0% to 6% of normal. Colorado experienced above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation and snowpack accumulation. Statewide the snowpack is 54% of median, this is near record low levels. Utah’s snowpack is 51% of normal and much more dry in the south than the north. California’s February snowpack data shows statewide the levels are 27% of normal.

Temperatures

Temperatures in parts of the west were 20 degrees above normal in January. This trend for higher temperatures in the West is predicted for the rest of the winter and spring.

Day Zero

‘Day Zero' is the name given to the day the city of Cape Town in South Africa water taps are expected to run dry. Today ‘Day Zero' is in the range of April 16 – May 11. The day was pushed back from April 1 due to reduced agricultural water use. Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa. The city of Cape Town metropolitan municipality serves a population of 3.74 million people.

Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor for the west shows 73% of the Western United States is abnormally dry. This is compared to 29% in the West last year at this time.

U.S. Government Borrowing

The U. S. government is going to borrow almost $1 trillion this year, an 84% jump from last year and we don’t see any details for improvements in water infrastructure. In fact, the policy today is calling for more privatization of water.

These are not the only red flag warnings seen, but they are the most concerning. I am sure you have spotted a few yourself, and we would love to hear about them in the comments section below. Remember, the good news is there is still time to prepare and be proactive in our response to make the effects of the drought less on ourselves and the industry.

Richard Restuccia

Richard is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. He served on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. Richard also writes for other publications and is an award winning contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine. In 2014 his efforts were recognized with a “Leadership in Landscape” award. He has a great interest in the supply of clean water for people in developing countries and as an outdoorsman, spends his free time running, swimming and surfing.

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