The idea of rationing is super scary, and water bans like the one implemented this year in California can feel an awful lot like rationing. No one likes having the government forcing limits on their lives, no matter how valid the cause. The situation, though, is straightforward. There’s not enough water to go around. For the long term, we need a better solution. But for now, Californians are living with a kind of discomfort that lots of people feel around the world every day.
We’ve been lucky so far.
We know the importance of clean water, and we also know how important it is to conserve. As an East Coast company, we’re fortunate not to have gone through intense periods of drought. But that doesn’t mean we can be careless about our water. To preserve our access to the clean water that allows us to flourish, we’re sharing with you these tips for making the most of limited water during a time when you’re not being forced to do it. We hope you’ll do your part to ensure that rationing never happens here.
Balance feels better than limits.
In California, Mother Nature has put her foot down, saying, “no more water until you can manage it the right way.” The way you react is up to you. As a species, we’re up against natural limits that we don’t have the capacity to change. So instead of refusing to accept that truth, we should reframe our thinking. Achieving balance with our natural resources should feel good. It means we’re not doomed! At Davis Water, we give people a little more flexibility in where and how much water they can access. But we’re not changing the world. To do that, everyone has to pitch in. Here are some ways you might not have heard about for you to do your part in ensuring future generations have clean, healthy water. These things, in a way, are easy, because you don’t have to change your life. You just have to change your mind.
Get down with symbiosis.
When two things depend on one another for survival, they’re called “symbiotic.” Water on this planet would probably turn out pretty well if humans weren’t around, but the reverse isn’t true. If humans didn’t have water, there wouldn’t be humans! One of the ways we can make freshwater sustainable is by just thinking symbiotically. Instead of always doing the most profitable or beneficial thing for people, we have to think about every part in the whole system. When we’ve achieved balance and harmony with the Earth’s natural systems, we’ll be in a much more secure situation as we build our future.
Put on an attitude of gratitude.
Stephen Hawking said, "When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.” When we expect something to always be around, we have a tendency to take it for granted. Past generations have taken that approach to water, and over the years it’s left a lot of people high and dry. They’ve usually been in other countries, but now the United States has begun to feel the pressure. No matter what you believe about issues like climate change, it’s pretty obvious that better management for our water would bring benefits to the human race. We’d rather talk gratitude than politics. By actively appreciating the role of water in your life, you’ll become a better consumer of water. Just by being mindful of water, you might just start looking like a naturally super-smart sustainability hacker. That’s because doing your part to conserve water is pretty easy. But before you change your life, change your mind. It’ll make good habits a lot easier to implement.
“Maximize use” sounds backwards when it comes to water. Bear with me, though. I’m talking about functionality. Application. When you use water, remember that it’s an evolving resource. As it changes through use, it can be used for other things. We need to stop seeing water as disposable, because that’s an illusion. Water never goes away – it just changes. So when you use water for one thing, like rinsing vegetables, re-collect it. Use it again to water your plants. Empty your warmed-up glass of water into your dog’s bowl. Keep using your water as many times as you can. You’ll use less of it. That’s a big deal.
There’s one thing worse than using fresh, clean, drinkable water for tasks you don’t need it for. That’s using more water than you actually need, for any purpose. Just be careful. Pay attention. That’s all it takes to keep more clean water available and contribute less dirty water. Lots of things are competing for your attention these days, but few of them are as vital as the water that sustains your life.
Think about the way you think.
Changing your mind is a big deal. It’s one of the most powerful things you can do. So if you’re not ready for all that, just start with one thought. Think about water, and how you’ve been thinking about it. What do you believe about water? How much do you notice it? What matters most to you about water? Awareness is the first step toward owning your place in this world. You’ll own your water use for the rest of your life, so get to know what it really looks like. The entire world will thank you.