Letter: Improve personal water use habits
It is not just the dry year, it is the hot and dry year that catches our attention. Plant water needs increase dramatically when the air is hot and dry. Green lawns and parks are very nice, but are they the best use of water? Would it be better for that water to be in the stream maintaining flows for the fish and rafters?
Right now there are three things that are maintaining stream flows: water being released for endangered fish, the Shoshone Power Plant water, and agricultural water being released for downstream users.
The agricultural water released from upstream reservoirs that is used by growers in the Palisade and Grand Junction area provides for recreational use all along the way. This water stabilizes the recreational industries in our area and accounts for a large percentage of the tourism dollars spent. Take away the agricultural water release and you are left with extremely low flows, hot and even dead fish, and no rafting.
Local agricultural water use provides for late season return flows to the river and again stabilizes the river system and all the industries that use it. The farmers use the water to earn a living, not for personal enjoyment. They grow a crop and produce a product. This product helps to feed America. Food independence as a nation is vital.
I agree we all need to use water as efficiently as possible. Agriculture needs to make sure that we continue to be good stewards of our natural resources. Individually. We all need to improve our personal habits. This includes reduced lawn watering, xeriscaping whenever possible, reusing water at all opportunities, and reducing household needs.
According to Denver Water, the average user in their area uses 125 gallons of water per day. The average user in Fort Collins uses 75 gallons per day. The average user in Cape Town, South Africa uses about 10 gallons (43 liters) per day. We have a long way to go before we can consider our water use efficient.
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