Underwater Junkyards, the World’s Longest Toilet Queue, and Progress in San Diego
Today is the international observance of World Water Day, an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. March 22 of each year was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the World Day for Water and has been celebrated since 1993 with growing numbers of activities across the planet (including this year’s Guinness World Record attempt of the World’s Longest Toilet Queue!).
Here in California, recent news related to water includes an “underwater junkyard” discovered on the ocean floor between Monterey and Long Beach, and the passage of state legislation late last year aimed at addressing some of California’s water challenges.
Closer to San Diego, we have seen mandatory drought restrictions result in a 12.6% reduction in water usage in the City of San Diego from the same time last year, and progress in moving forward to study the potential of recycling water in our county.
The array of news articles demonstrates how complex California’s and San Diego’s water challenges are. At home, so many of our everyday activities, from landscaping and watering our yards, to flushing our toilets, washing our clothes and picking up after our pets affect either the quantity of water we use, or the quality, and in many cases, both. According to Equinox Center’s Regional Quality of Life Dashboard research, residents of San Diego County on average use about 118 gallons of water per person per day at home, and 55% of all the water we use at home is for landscaping. The more we use outdoors, the more potential there is that it is carrying untreated pollutants into our rivers and streams, and eventually our beaches and bays.
The good news is that there are many resources available to help us understand and do something about our water situation. There is more data available from Equinox Center at http://www.equinoxcenter.org/regional-dashboard/water.html and http://www.equinoxcenter.org/resources.html#water and from many of the other organizations referenced on those pages.
If you want to join others locally in acknowledging World Water Day, the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is screening its new film, The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water tonight at The Loft at UCSD. Click here for more information.