How People Are Dealing with Less Water
Water shortages are everywhere, and especially in the summer, the American West deals with drought. Farmers, turf managers, and growers must carry on, and this has led to some innovative ways of thinking when it comes to water shortages. Here are a few ways in which people in popular US cities have been dealing with shortages.
The Denver Water Campaign
At the heart of the Water Campaign in Denver, Colorado is a series of ads designed to help make water conservation more mainstream. The Denver Water Utility began putting creative and humorous ads on billboards and busses back in 2012. Their idea of using humor was designed to catch consumers’ attention, and it certainly did. Among the favorites was the city’s “Dirt: The Official Slip ‘n Slide of 2013” advertisement, which served as a reminder to save water. The city also started the Drought Patrol, which cruises the city streets looking for people who are violating conservation laws. Rather than issuing tickets, though, the patrol provides advice and even gives away accessories like water-efficient nozzles for hoses designed to save more water.
Las Vegas, Nevada’s No More Fountains Campaign
The amount of water required to fuel the massive fountains in front of some of the most iconic buildings in Vegas is shocking. Back in 2006, when the reservoirs providing water to the entire city dropped to only 64% of their capacity, the city banned fountains that did not recirculate water. Angel Park Golf Course installed a computer-controlled irrigation system tied to sensors that ultimately automate the irrigation system without wasting a single drop of water. Finally, the city started paying its residents $1 for every square foot of grass they replaced with desert turf in an effort to reduce watering needs.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
These days, in order for developers to put new residential or commercial buildings anywhere within city limits, they are required to provide estimates of the amount of water consumption that building is expected to require. Simply put, Santa Fe won’t grow if there’s not enough water to support it. Santa Fe also took an initiative to begin harvesting rainwater and excess surface water and storing it in an aquifer under the ground. This way, the water cannot evaporate in the desert air much like it would if it was stored in an above-ground reservoir.
In Phoenix, there are numerous initiatives in place to reduce water consumption. The “Water Police” travel the city streets to enforce water conservation orders, and they even use treated wastewater from the numerous power plants in the area to irrigate golf courses, cool a nuclear power plant, and water the Tres Rios wetlands, a manmade complex designed to provide a stunning oasis in the middle of the desert.
Though water certainly grows scarce from time to time, particularly out in the West, these cities have come up with some clever and innovative ways to get their residents on board with conservation. Many of these cities have even changed their own practices in such a way that they ensure plenty of freshwater for generations to come, as well.