Karen Telleen-Lawton: Water and Cash Flow | Homes and Lifestyle
Streams Week, followed by World Rivers Day on September 26, brought articles and events to Santa Barbara celebrating our local streams and watersheds. Walks in streams, round tables and storm sewers decorated with chalk art commemorated the importance of water in giving life to all living things.
Explore ecology reported that more than three tonnes of trash were collected during coastal cleanups. Despite all the fun and fanfare, it was obvious that the news on the water is generally bleak.
In July, California Governor Gavin Newson called for a voluntary 15% reduction in water use, but compliance statewide in the first two months has been surprisingly spotty. As the North Coast region slashed its water use by 16.7% and the Bay Area fell 8.4%, Southern California plunged a barely recordable 0.1% generally. Water consumption in Los Angeles and San Diego has actually increased.
The following month, the federal government officially declared the first-ever water shortage in the Colorado River Basin. The two largest reservoirs in the river have shrunk to about 40% of their capacity. July 23, Powell LakeThe basin revealed a 150-foot vertical tub ring, the lowest level since 1969, before it was completely filled the first time.
As High Country News reported, “The Colorado River watershed is terminally ill.
Colorado’s declaration of water scarcity triggered reductions in mandatory allowances from 2022. The top pact states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) continued to meet their legal water quantity obligations. delivered to the Lower Basin for Arizona, California and Nevada, plus 1.5 million acres per year in Mexico.
However, the slack in the system is now absorbed so that the pact participants are ready to renegotiate the contract.
The general trend is for warming and drying out, according to Jeff Kightlinger, chief executive for 15 years of the Southern California Metropolitan Aquatic District. Fifteen of the past 20 years have produced below “normal” precipitation.
“We have a shrinking pool of water, there’s no question about it,” Kightlinger said. “And we over-allocated it.”
One of the solutions that California is working to structure is a partnership with Las Vegas on a wastewater recycling project in Southern California. Nevada would provide funds in exchange for a share of the produced water, which it would derive from the California water allocation in Lake Mead. This type of cooperative project using new technologies – which should cost between 3 and 4 billion dollars – will be necessary to cope with the decrease in the water budget.
Colorado River water supports our food – 5 million acres of farmland – and the flora and fauna that form the diverse ecosystem that sustains our earthly nest. Urban use is only 10 percent of water use, but conservation is still key for us.
Closer to home, the dry year and a provisional settlement between the town of Ventura and Channelkeeper triggered the closure of the last water well in the Foster Park well field on the Ventura River. The August 5 event marked the first time that all wells have been closed at Foster Park to maintain river flows for the ecosystem. They will be closed until the winter rains replenish the water table, except in emergencies with Casitas Lake. River flows rebounded considerably after the pumping stopped.
We used to discuss conservation versus technology to treat water and the many environmental problems we have caused on our planet. At this point in the game, we need all the options: good policies, strong wills, and maybe some well-placed miracles.
A good resource for reducing our own consumption is WaterWiseSB. The county website has information on our water sources, irrigation and landscaping suggestions, interior repairs, and business help.
Now, users across the West are likely to dig deeper into their cash flow to replace and conserve water flow.
– Karen Telleen-Lawton serves seniors and pre-seniors as director of Fee-only financial advice in Santa Barbara. You can reach her with your financial planning questions at [email protected]. Click here to read the previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.