Efficient vs. Environmental: Honing our Water


A commodity like water has become increasingly important as a natural resource, since areas around the world continue to suffer from extended droughts that bring death as part of its deadly equation. While not having reached that extreme yet, the state of California continues to suffer the effects of their own drought that has taxed local municipalities enough that restrictions have been put in place for certain sections.

Different avenues have been pursued when it comes to addressing the problem, with a debate surfacing between whether efficiency with respect to water should be the pursuit or a more environmental outlook is the best course of action. While both are important when it comes to the overall picture, determining how to craft a solution can be tricky to navigate.

An ever-growing population, especially in areas of the world that find themselves most vulnerable to water shortages, means that being efficient with water should be of the highest priority. However, political concerns sometimes supercede a more cogent analysis of the best way to make that happen.

In addition, the need for keeping water clean enough that its considered environmentally safe has seemingly become an exercise in futility over the past few years. That’s because in a recent five-year span, American cities violated the Clean Water Act more than half a million times.

Also, in certain states, specific industries that serve as the backbone of a regional economy demand greater water usage in order to energize production. The most prominent example can be seen in those who virtually live and die with agriculture, since what’s produced through the use of that water is a daily necessity in itself.

Those demands can sometimes come into conflict with efficiencies that need to be in place so that there’s enough water for everyone. One mistake that’s often made is that despite watering changes that occur just as seasons change, many people simply continue with the same amount of irrigation. That ends up wasting a great deal of water that could be better used elsewhere.

Other efficiencies require a financial investment that, in some cases, may cause those with tight budgets who are in need of such equipment to balk at paying for it. These items can be as simple as sprinkler heads that spray water in a much more efficient manner or may be related to sensors that can detect either soil moisture or the presence of rain. In the latter case, that means shutting off an irrigation system while rain is falling.

As previously noted, both aspects are vitally important in dealing with this issue, so it’s likely that finding a happy medium may ultimately be the best course of action.