Yes, it’s official this is another La Niña year. So, you ask, what does that mean? La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, as compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. One, El Niño, brings lots of wet weather, one, La Niña, does not.
It means we are going to see less rainfall than we need and less snow pack, which melts into water. So you need to get serious about saving water in everything you do from today forward. In fact, make it one of your New Year’s resolutions (just don’t forget about it in 6 months).
If you are fairly new to living in California you won’t remember the great drought of 1975-76. The term “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” was repeated ad nausium but it had, and still has, a good point. We have a tendency to flush toilets for silly reasons. Sure, if your toilet is newer it uses much less water than what was used over 30 years ago, but the principle still holds true. We also were restricted so much water that taking a shower was a timed affair and if you had teenagers, you could see your entire month’s ration go down the drain. We saved the water from the shower, as it heated up, and used it to flush the toilet, or water the few plants one decided to keep alive. Our gardens died because we couldn’t water them.
This was a major drought and many of us still do some of the water saving tricks we learned then, now. Of course we have low flow toilets, water restricters in the shower head, front loading washers, and dishwashers that use all kinds of tricks to save water. Our daily lives will likely not be as restricted as they were in the 1970’s but maybe they need to be. Maybe we need to really think about our resources and remember that they aren’t unsustainable.
Why don’t you look around your home and take an inventory on what you need to do to help California stave off a drought in 2009? It’s the little things that make a big difference, so if your shower head doesn’t have a water restricter on it, buy a new one. Really, you won’t notice the difference in the shower but your water bill will reflect it. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. Turn off the faucet in the kitchen when you’re rinsing dishes before putting them into the dishwasher because if your dishwasher is relatively new, you don’t need to rise the dishes first anyway. Water your plants early in the day and then use caution on how much water they really need.
If you are planning on buying a new washing machine in 2009, look at the front loaders and consider buying one. Sure they cost a little bit more but you’ll make it up in the savings on your water bill. By the way, if you walk through your friendly Home Depot or Lowes, or Osh, you can find all kinds of items available to help you save water.
Remember, 2009 is a La Niña year, and those years mean we have less rainfall, less snow, and less water. Do your share to help conserve for all of us. Make it a New Year’s Resolution for yourself, your family and your community.