There is nothing new about the fact that we are in a severe drought in California but it’s rather alarming and continues to be an insane notion that our local elected officials aren’t acting with great haste to enact water restrictions. It has been said that California residents won’t “get it” until the tap runs dry, but at that point, we are in serious trouble, practically apocalyptic kind of trouble. And we aren’t that far away from such a situation, literally. In East Porterville in the Central Valley, residents are now relying on bottled water and tanks rather than their faucets for potable water. Imagine Ventura County residents watering their lawns, taking showers and cooking with bottled water. It’s not such a stretch of the imagination any more. It’s happening less than a couple of hundred miles away.
In an effort to prevent the serious situation in Porterville from occurring here, albeit a little late in the game, various cities have implemented or are in the process of implementing water use restrictions, the Ventura City Council on Monday, Sept. 22, jumping on the bandwagon to conserve this finite resource, paralleling the necessity for clean air. Ventura’s emergency ordinance mandates reduced water use, possible fines and future discussion on a temporary ban on new construction.
Thus far, Camarillo on June 25, Oxnard on July 29 and Ventura have enacted regulations restricting water use, similar to the regulations of the State Water Resource Control Board, i.e., reduce water use, fines for wasting water, etc. Ojai’s water district is run by Golden State Water Company; the company has asked customers to heed the control board’s restrictions. Thousand Oaks only has two regulations — no watering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and no free-running hoses. Santa Paula lists conservation tips on its website with only voluntary reductions in water use. On the county level, it was not immediately apparent any water restrictions were in place though officials are paying special attention to the drain on our aquifers due to farming. The common sense focus of all these regulations is not to waste potable water. Be smart when watering gardens and lawns. Conserve and try to preserve what we have left.
This isn’t just about water and the drought. This is about our impact on the planet; it’s about our carelessness in polluting our environment with emissions, creating a hole in the ozone, which heats up our planet, melts our polar ice caps and changes our climate worldwide from the impact of the changing temperatures of our oceans and air. As to those who continue to disregard and discount our effect on the planet, they won’t be changed and it’s a waste of energy to try to convince them otherwise. But there are many who continue to lessen their carbon footprint and look for ways to reduce their use of finite resources and reduce what they put into landfills by reusing what they can and recycling what they can’t. And this commitment is fundamental to keeping up the status quo we so enjoy at this point in our lives. Look at what has happened with careless decisions disregarding our impact. Do we want to end up like Porterville? It’s on the horizon and it’s frightening.
With global leaders having met in New York for the United Nations Climate Summit, we should pay heed to the words of our president:
“We can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation, developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass.”
And that includes each one of us in Ventura County.
For more information on water shortage restriction measures enacted Camairllo, Oxnard and Ventura, go to: http://publicworks.cityofoxnard.org/14/88/1141/; www.cityofventura.net/water/shortage; www.ci.camarillo.ca.us/docs/Drought%20Flyer%202014.pdf.