Can Any Good Come of Our Drought?

Every cloud has a silver lining, goes the old saying. That got me to thinking, what silver linings might come about from the extended drought that has plagued California for the past several years?

We all know the hardships it has caused. Our water bills have skyrocketed. Many gardens and lawns have shriveled. Hygiene has taken a step back with shorter and less frequent showers and maybe not flushing the toilet after every tinkle. Many of us put buckets in our showers to catch water for reuse watering plants instead of letting it flow down the drain. Some of us use dirty dishwater to flush our toilets. All of this imposes a little more hassle in our daily lives.

And remember those terrible floods last year that washed out parts of I-15 to the east and caused some fatalities? That was caused because when the torrential rain finally came to the area but couldn’t be absorbed by parched ground baked almost as hard as cement. No doubt about it, the drought has taken a terrible toll on Californians.

Sometimes I envy people I know in the Midwest and back East who think nothing of leaving the faucet wide open while they brush their teeth and otherwise waste water like it’s in unlimited supply. To them, it pretty much is. They draw water from the Great Lakes and other sources that don’t come close to being depleted. Instead of welcoming rainfall, they curse it for interrupting outdoor recreational activities. Instead of drought, they are more concerned with flooding.

But you know what? In a certain sense, I think the drought has made those of us out west wiser and better citizens. It has embedded in our minds the true value of a precious resource that so many of us used to take for granted. It has inspired in many of us an interest in our planet’s ecology and a determination to live in a more sustainable fashion.

The drought has compelled us to actions that conserve water and lower our burgeoning water bills. It has convinced many of our customers to replace old water-hogging toilets, faucets, and showerheads with modern water-conserving “WaterSense” products.

On a larger scale, the drought has forced civil authorities to seek large-scale solutions like the Cadiz water project. It’s driven renewed interest in desalination as a way to tap a virtually endless water supply and forestall any crisis from future droughts. Here’s an article I recently came across about another silver lining in helping to created underground reservoirs where extra surface water can be stored during wet times so it is available during dry periods.

A philosopher once famously stated, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” It’s a good attitude to adopt when thinking about our deficit of life-giving moisture.