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Saving the planet one drop at a time: Earth Day and the drought

By Isabella Balandran

This Earth Day, it only makes sense to focus on water conservation as we are in the midst of California’s worst drought in 1,200 years.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 to bring attention and awareness to climate and water pollution. Just 45 years later, we have found ourselves bringing attention and awareness to the lack of water.

It feels as though we are constantly growing closer to our climate being altered to that of a desert with each drought we endure. Officials say Southern Californians will have to practice water conservation even when we are not in a drought.

According to NBC Los Angeles, California board approves fines for water wasters, “Wasting water outdoors amid the state’s drought will begin hitting Californians in the wallet under get-tough restrictions passed by state regulators, with fines of up to $500 a day for overwatering front lawns or washing a car without a nozzle on the hose.”

Many Californians are worried that the state will run out of water, as it is rumored that there is only a one-year supply left stored. California is the supplier of almost half of all U.S. produce and is experiencing the driest year in the last half millennium. This can have a drastic effect on the way the rest of the country eats as a long term result.

Much of California’s agriculture is concentrated in the parts of the state where the drought is taking its biggest toll. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Monterey County, a County which grows nearly half of the country’s lettuce in broccoli, is currently enduring the level of an exceptional drought.

We all know the basics of water conservation, such as shortening our showers and turning off the faucet when we brush our teeth, but what are some different ways to save water and save ourselves? Here are ten easy steps to cut down your water usage around the house.

KITCHEN

1 If you accidentally drop ice cubes, instead of throwing them in the sink, put them in the soil of a house plant.

2. Collect the water you use rinsing fruits and vegetables and use it to water your plants or garden.

BATHROOM

3. Fix leaks! The average home loses 9.5 gallons of water per day from leaks, most of which are from toilet tanks. A leaking faucet wastes about 10 gallons of water each day! That’s 20 days worth of one person’s drinking water!

4. Turn off the water in the shower while shaving your legs and save at least 150 gallons a month. Better yet, take a break from shaving!

5. While you wait for your shower water to warm up, collect the cold water and use it to water plants.

6. Try turning off the water when washing and conditioning your hair. Just use the water to rinse! This can make a massive difference and you won’t have to worry about rushing to shorten your overall shower time.

7. Reuse your towels instead of washing them after every single use.

FOOD

8. Only order water in a restaurant if you are actually going to drink it.

9. Avoid meat whenever you can! Nearly half of the water in the U.S. goes to raising animals for food. Animal rights group PETA says, “It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while growing one pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons. You save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for six months!” Consider having “Meatless Mondays” as a start.

10. Become aware of your food’s water impact and usage. Research how many gallons of water it takes to make your favorite foods and avoid them for the remainder of the drought. This might seem like a tricky one, but you’ll get the hang of it. For example, beef requires far more water than chicken, mangos require more than nectarines, and walnuts require more than pistachios.

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