Water Conservation: Sustainability Is Key

By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victorville) In the last article on water conservation, we spoke to two of the experts in the High Desert when it comes to water: the Mojave Water Agency and Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. They provided us with some great tips for conserving water, which we hope was helpful to our readers. In this article, we are focusing on the sustainably of our water supply, and why it is literally a matter of life and death.

When it comes to the water supply for the golden state of California, we are dependent on one source: the Sacramento‐San Joaquin River Delta, or better known simply as the Delta. According to the Southern California Water Committee, the Delta is the central hub for water delivery to twenty-five million Californians, which is nearly two-thirds of the state’s population. That is almost two-thirds of the state is dependent on the Delta for water, which is the key to living. So, what happens when tragedy strikes?

In our great state, we know that earthquakes happen regularly. We also know that there is always a chance of the “big one” hitting our state. So, what happens if a massive earthquake strikes and contaminates the Delta? According to Delta Disrupted, an educational and outreach campaign formed for this very situation, two out of three Californians will be without water. Without water, there is no life. According to the U.S Geological Survey, the bay area has a 63% probability of a 6.7 magnitude earthquake or larger striking the area in the next 30 years. A quake of such magnitude would devastate the Delta, contaminate the water source, and would be a catastrophe for Californians and the world.

So, what can be done to prepare for such a disaster, to ensure a safe water supply for the citizens of the High Desert? Tamara Alaniz from the Mojave Water Agency spoke to High Desert Daily about this very real problem, and what the agency is doing to help. “The Mojave Water Agency thinks about sustainability a lot!” Alaniz stated in an online interview. “Not only have we partnered with our area’s community colleges to support strategic partnerships that promote sustainability and we are one of the founding sponsors of the VVC Sustainability Project, but we are also keenly aware of the need for sustainability when it comes to our water supplies.”

Alaniz touched on the Delta, and the growing problem we all may be facing when disaster strikes. “We rely on about 30% of our total water supply from an imported source, the State Water Project.  This over 700-mile long system of canals and pumps brings water from Northern California to the High Desert, where, with this water, we recharge our groundwater supplies.  The infrastructure that brings this water supply requires quite a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Recharged supply has yielded great rewards when it comes to the ability to sustain our region if the imported supply is interrupted by some catastrophic event that affects the infrastructure system, like earthquakes, flooding or levee breaches in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  If imported supplies are interrupted from this type of event, we have stored enough water underground to sustain the High Desert for several years on that storage and any natural supplies.”

Norma Armenta, Water Conservation Representative at Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, spoke to High Desert Daily about how fortunate we are here in the High Desert when it comes to water, and how we can sometimes overlook just how much of this precious resource we are wasting.  “I believe we are very fortunate to have easy access to some of the safest treated water—just by turning on the tap. We wake up to our daily routine in the morning, take a shower, brush our teeth, grab a cup of coffee and head out for the day. Water is an important part of our daily lives and we use it for a wide variety of purposes, but do we really understand how much we use?”

For more information on Delta Disrupted, you can visit them online at http://www.socalwater.org/delta-disrupted. Also, make sure to visit the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company online at www.avrwater.com, the Mojave Water Agency at www.mojavewater.org, and the Town of Apple Valley’s Green Apple site, www.greenapplevalley.org.

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