The following excerpt is from a livingliberally.org blog, submitted by KAT on Mon,10/22/2007 http://livingliberally.org/eating/story__not_so_flush_oct_22_2007_id721
More and more of my friends are flushing their toilets less and less. In fact, some of us are even flushing each other’s toilets less and less. That may sound like a ghastly breach of etiquette to the vast majority of Americans, but when you’re as immersed in water issues as some of my friends are, you start to feel foolish about flushing away gallons of water just to disperse, say, a pint of pee.
Most of us have barely begun to size up our carbon footprint, and the concept of “peak oil” is just starting to seep into the MSM. But Jon Gertner’s chilling story on the cover of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, The Perfect Drought, adds two new phrases to the lexicon of looming limitations: “peak water,” (critical water shortages in the future, or peak water), and “water footprint.”
This YouTube video is not part of the article, but I’ve included it to add impact to the severity of the drought situation – “Desert Overtaking Inner Mongolia“, uploaded on Sep 23, 2011, by circleofblue ~
The West is dry as a bone, as Malibu’s transformation from hot spot to inferno so vividly illustrates, and the fires are spreading from San Diego to Santa Barbara. The drought is so severe in North Georgia that Governor Sonny Perdue has called on President Bush to declare 85 counties federal disaster areas.
All of which lends credence to Gertner’s claim that a severe water crisis is already in the pipeline. An extended drought compounded by climate change has left reservoirs at an all-time low just when more and more people are relocating to the increasingly arid West. There’s not enough water to meet the growing demands of agriculture and development, and the situation is only going to get worse—much, much worse, according to the experts Gertner interviewed.
Pat Mulroy, head of Southern Nevada’s Water Authority, told Gertner: “We have an exploding human population, and we have a shrinking clean water supply. Those are on colliding paths…the people who move to the West today need to realize they’re moving into a desert…if they want to live in a desert, they have to adapt to a desert lifestyle.”
Those of us who hail from the irrigated deserts of California are familiar with the water-wise mantra “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down,” or what Treehugger has dubbed “the selective flush.” But, as Treehugger noted, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, caused a furor when he suggested that Londoners might want to think twice before flushing.
On this side of the Atlantic, the squandering of water is not only accepted, but expected. Ann Coulter decries the low-flush toilet as the epitome of liberal lunacy. Coulter once told Slate: … everything that is unpleasant in life has been brought to us by liberals. One of them is the fact that we can only have two tablespoons of water in our toilet bowls because of some idiotic conservation of water… You throw half a tissue in the toilet and you have to flush it 16 times…
And then there’s the ubiquitous American lawn, utterly unsuited to much of the country’s climate, yet mandated by local ordinances… I was delighted by a Daily Kos diary the other day devoted to a Boulder, Colorado CSA (community supported agriculture) run by a farmer, Kipp Nash, who works with suburban homeowners to convert useless lawns into productive vegetable patches.
Lettuce in lieu of lawns? If our nation’s salad bowl turns into a dust bowl, we’re going to need a nation of Kipp Nashes to keep us in greens. The impending water crisis threatens the very foundation of our current agricultural system, which not only sucks up a huge percentage of the West’s water, but also spews copious amounts of chemicals back into our water supply, as Elizabeth Royte documents in her thorough–and thoroughly distressing–recent Grist feature, From Bad to Thirst.
Water’s been on the verge of becoming the new oil for awhile, now, but with the evidence mounting fast that we’re on the verge of being tapped out, maybe the need to conserve will finally sink in. Or, we could just keep flushing away. I’m sure Ann Coulter will.