Water is related to where it goes. If you consider the Green River part of the Colorado River system, Colorado is one of two states with no water flowing into it. It all originates here and flows elsewhere. What will ongoing population growth do to our water supply and its allocation?
The Colorado Water Conservation Board estimates that by 2030, municipal water supplies might face an 18% shortfall. That amount could rise higher if population doubles by the year 2050.
The oilman T. Boone Pickens has stated that “water is the new oil.” That’s true globally and it’s true for us locally in Colorado. The preciousness of water is something we’re only starting to think seriously about on a day-to-day basis. But the time has come.
Here are some snapshots:
- In 2010, 884 million people in the world lacked access to safe drinking water.
- In Brazil, along the Amazon Basin, thousands have gone hungry as record low water levels halted transportation and fishing.
- Throughout Colorado, ranchers are now scrambling to move their cattle to pastures where there’s still water.
- This month near Greeley, farmers watched their corn crops dry up.
And at the end of the block, Joe just turned on his sprinkler system in the middle of a 95-degree day and water is running off the walk and down the gutter. Joe really should know better, as fortunately, many of us already do. Water consumption and conservation is undeniably both a global and down-the-street issue.
Those of us in the landscape industry appreciate water and what it brings to Coloradans in terms of environmental worth, health benefits and enjoyment in our urban outdoor spaces. Since the drought of 2002, our industry has worked diligently to promote sustainable landscaping principles, to develop plants that are suited to our state’s low-water growing conditions and to introduce smart irrigation technology that gives plants the water they need without wasting even a drop.
The challenge is upon us all to think conservation and incorporate all the water-saving practices and technology available to us. We have a wealth of information from scientists at Colorado State University and elsewhere to guide us in sustainable practices. We have more and better low-water plants than ever from which to choose. And finally, we have the technology to deliver water to plants without waste.
Every one of us like Joe down the street, needs to do our part around our own homes and businesses to save water. Use July, proclaimed as Smart Irrigation Month by Governor Hickenlooper, to assess your own water conservation practices. Pay special attention to your sprinkler system and make the adjustments that save our water.
Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, the professional organization of the landscape contracting industry that has about 700 member companies in six chapters statewide. www.alcc.com.