Increasing Water Conservation by Educating the Youth
From 2000 to present day, the Colorado River basin could be declared in a state of drought due to the rapid depletion of the basin water levels. “Some 40 million people – including those in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson and San Diego — and 4 million acres of farmland rely on water from the Colorado River Basin, much of it stored in Lake Mead,” (Postel, 1). This immense reliance on the Colorado River basin has lead to an overuse of the groundwater, eventually threatening the future of the basin. By integrating water conservation methods and education into the everyday curriculum of schools, the general population will increase their environmental awareness, ultimately conserving more water.
Over the past decade the Colorado River basin has seen record lows in surface water levels as well as groundwater levels. “Research by hydrologist James Famiglietti at the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues found that groundwater in the Colorado River Basin is being depleted six times faster than surface water,” (Science 345). The overuse of water can be attributed the lack of freshwater sources in the western United States as well as increasing populations within already depleted areas. Another key attribute to the depletion of the Colorado River basin is the use of its water for agricultural uses. “Stream flow of the Colorado River Basin is the most over allocated in the world. Recent assessment indicates that demand for this renewable resource will soon outstrip supply, suggesting that limited groundwater reserves will play an increasingly important role in meeting future water needs” (Castle, et al.). This is primarily due to the large market for crops from farming in the western United States. Farmer’s are implementing the use of new technologies such as automated watering systems in addition to in-ground wells to maximize their crop production while lowering their economic cost. At this current rate of water usage, the Colorado River basin will become extremely unstable within the next century, because the farmers are only taking economic cost into mind and not environmental cost. Without the Colorado River basin providing water to citizens, infrastructure will collapse and human life will be threatened. “40 million…and 4 million acres of farmland rely on water from the Colorado River Basin,” (Postel, 1). This statistic shows how essential water actually is, as well as how great of the west coasts’ population relies on it to sustain life. Without water, crops cannot be grown, electricity cannot be generated and after all, “water nourishes our bodies and souls.”(Glennon 20). The current supply and demand of the basin is extremely unbalanced providing much of the focus on economic perspectives rather than the ecological value of the basin. The evidence of this depletion is made very clear, however, the general public does not fully understand what it means for the average citizen. The general population tends to ignore or disregard the environmental issues for instant economic gratification. This, however, is very dangerous, because while the individuals are economically stable at the moment, the negative environmental effects will be detrimental in the near future. A prime example of this is the widely discussed resale of farms within the basin. The depleting water table is a primary threat suggesting that wells could possibly run dry in the near future. “Who wants to buy a farm when there’s no water around it?” No one. By ignoring environmental issues destined to occur down the road in exchange for immediate economic gain, a large disconnect is observed within the general population. It does not necessarily mean those individuals are intentionally degrading the water table, however they are simply lacking environmental awareness. By implementing education and knowledge about water conservation methods into educational curriculums, this problem can...
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