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How to conserve water

There are better ways to deal with California's water shortage than to render the Delta smelt or other endangered fish extinct. Doing that only allows us to further degrade the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Here is how we can conserve water so that there is enough to maintain Delta flows of fresh water into the sea.
One-fifth of the water that leaves the delta is for domestic and industrial use. Use low flow toilets. There are attractive plants that use much less water than the typical suburban lawn and plants. We should not use pools and fountains to decorate our streets, parks or yards; these evaporate water.
Four-fifths of the water is for agriculture. That water should go to the land that produces the most food or fiber per unit of water. Our cities should not sprawl onto such land. Land that contains a lot of salt, so that it requires water to push the salt down below the root zone, should not be farmed. Westlands water district has such soil. Farmers should continue to use water more efficiently. This includes much more use of subsurface drip irrigation. Use water for fruits, nuts and vegetables, not cotton and cattle feed.
Californians need to realize that all the water belongs to all of us. Kern County should not conserve less because it has the Kern River. The Sacramento River basin is as important in finding water for southern California as is Los Angeles and should conserve as vigorously.
ARTHUR D. UNGER

Bakersfield
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