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Conserving water necessary

By Michael Morris
That our umbrellas remain propped up in corners covered in household dust is a pretty good indication as to what type of weather we are experiencing in Southeast Texas. No one will confuse our climate of late with a tropical rainforest.

It has been almost a month since the area experienced any measurable rainfall, and two months since Mother Nature provided us with a good soaking. Our rainfall deficit for the year can be measured in feet, not inches. And while even unwatered lawns are hardy enough to still retain a healthy hue, as July arrives and the sun continues to beat down, it’s unlikely that can continue without the help of a hose.

We hope folks around here avoid the temptation to give their sprinklers a workout. It’s not too early to start conserving water now, especially since we are bone dry and the “dry months” haven’t even arrived.

The sacrifices we have to make to ensure having enough water to drink and maintain basic hygiene are minimal, doing little more than eliminating tasks that are only about keeping up appearances.

Starting today in Lake Jackson, many of those sacrifices no longer will be optional. Car washing, watering the lawn, filling up swimming pools and other non-essential water uses will be restricted to alternating days, based on a home’s address. Lake Jackson’s conservation measures kicked in automatically, while other cities require city officials to take specific action, none of which have yet taken up the issue.

But that doesn’t mean we have to wait for them to do so before we start trying to conserve.

Things we can do today to prevent a water emergency down the road include limiting the length of our showers to less than five minutes; not letting the water run continuously in the sink as we shave, brush our teeth or wash dishes; sweeping dirt and debris off our driveway and sidewalk instead of hosing them down; scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before putting them in the dishwasher, then running the dishwasher only when it’s full; and not using the “extra rinse” option on our washing machines.

It should go without saying we also should avoid washing our cars and watering our lawns and flower gardens. While dousing those things with water will make them look much prettier, they also waste gallons of water we might be wishing we had down the road.

That road looks oppressively hot and dry, two conditions we already have had plenty of. We have seen one of our main freshwater sources — the Brazos River — drop in depth and flow and reservoir levels evaporate. The county has banned outdoor burning and Lake Jackson likely is just the first area city that will make us save water.

But as we tell our children, it’s always better to do the good deed without having to be told to do it. Conserving water is not just a good deed, but a necessary one as we fight another summer of drought conditions.

This editorial was written by Michael Morris, assistant managing editor of The Facts.

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