I was walking back today from shopping (I was in LA en route back to New Zealand when writing this) and there’s a little strip park that goes in between the houses – it’s a nice little area really, with children playing baseball and people walking their dogs. I looked down at the grass and noticed it was very green, lush and full. It gave me a pause for thought, because just over a week ago we were in a place called Estes Park in Colorado and in the space of 24 hours, 15 inches of snow fell over the area, and I thought about if we as human beings tried to drop that amount of snow ourselves in that amount of time, it would be physically impossible.
The reason why I’m relating these two experiences is because a lot of the water that is used here in Southern California actually comes from the Colorado River and more specifically from the Rocky Mountains and the melt from the snowfalls and the ice. It was interesting to me to be in Colorado witnessing the water in the form of snow that would soon end up on the lush grass I would be standing on a week later, as Southern California most definitely does not have enough rain to make the grass as full and vibrant as it was. To be fair, it had rained a little recently, enough to possibly bring dying grass just back to life.
It’s an interesting thought, because as a general trend, the world’s water supply, although not diminishing (because it’s been the same for millions of years of course), is ending up in different places like in the ocean as salt water and others that are inaccessible to human beings as I’ve mentioned in other blog pieces. Water is a vital resource to us, and unfortunately many of us don’t realize how important it is – we turn on the faucet and out comes the water. I was like this until my later years living in Los Angeles when I became more aware of how fragile the whole system is. I became more conservationist, and when I came to live in New Zealand, I was happy to know that many people there live off of rain water as much as they can through catching it in tanks and filtering it for their homes.
As a side note, I’d like to write about Auckland and what it is currently doing to supply water to its residents and businesses each day. Auckland Rainfall is 49 inches per year and its population is 1.4 million people. Auckland has 10 dams/lakes that supply most of the water there. The combined reservoir capacity of Auckland’s dams is over 100 billion litres (26.5 million gallons). There are also 3 rivers that supply Auckland with water. Since 2002 the Waikato River has been supplying around 75 million litres (19.9 million gallons) of water to metropolitan Auckland each day, meeting around eight percent of the area’s needs in 2010/2011 (total 248.8 million gallons). There are also springs (wells-bores) from which water is supplied. The largest, Onehunga, was developed by the former Onehunga Borough Council. Water is pumped from the Onehunga Springs; it is then treated and pumped to the level required for supply to the Onehunga area. It can supply 21 million litres a day (5.65 million gallons).
In comparison, Los Angeles Co Rainfall 13.5 inches per year and has 9.9 million people! The county of Los Angles uses 190 billion gallons of water annually, (3.65 billion gallons per week)
The Colorado River Aqueduct uses these plants to bring the water up 1,600 feet through the course of the aqueduct. The California Water Project goes uphill 1,900 feet, which is called the single longest water lift in the world. On average 600,000 homes could be powered by the power that is used annually, based on the averages over the last 10 years. These figures are simply mind-boggling to me.
To have been standing on this lush grass in a dry place, and thinking of the irony of being where the water for it came from right in the midst of a rare May snowfall was very intriguing to me, as though I was where I needed to be in order to make a realization by witnessing the reality directly, seeing for myself what was going on rather than reading about it or watching a news program on it. I’ve touched on these subjects before, but I thought this was a worthy restatement through what I felt was an important experience. I hope that you are able to become more and more aware of these things as I am becoming and incorporate the lessons from these into your own life, conversations and actions J Thank you!