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From the Editor: Individual & Corporate Water Management Leads to (Mostly) Optimism

Reflections from Jen

Water management often dominates my thinking during the summer: my county’s reservoir is five minutes from home and I paddle board there as often as I can (hey, at least it’s a healthy addiction). In spring, as snowmelt comes from the mountains, the reservoir fills. By late July, trees that were once firmly on the ground become submerged, and I paddle through water-logged aspen glades. Then, as summer goes on, the level begins its expected drop.

But this summer, following a winter of low snowpack, the water never got as high – and it fell faster than ever. By now, even the bands of teenage cliff-jumpers, who joyfully ignore the “no jumping” signs, have mostly disappeared – there’s just not that much water to jump into.

With conditions like that, it’s hard not to think about both local and global water shortage issues, especially when the news is filled with such reports. This week, for example, we wrote about how mega-farms are dealing with potential water withdrawal restrictions in South Carolina. Another article focused on a possible “surcharge exemption fee” for industry in Texas, which would let industrial companies pay a voluntary fee on the water they use in order to avoid steep increases in water allocation surcharges when inevitable shortages occur.

Yet I take heart from stories about giant corporations like Kimberly-Clark and MillerCoors setting – and reaching – ambitious water reduction goals. New water-management technologies are announced nearly every day, and the smart water-management market is expected to boom as industry and governments alike increasingly acknowledge the need for reducing resource consumption.

Then there are the success stories like those that came from Cape Town, South Africa, where residents  went whole hog to save water and cut their consumption by 50%, pushing back “Day Zero” for at least awhile. (Though, of course, the idea of a Day Zero is absolutely terrifying in its implications…)

Regardless, I applaud these efforts, from the providers that are developing water-saving technologies to the companies and cities that are using those technologies to individual achievements like those of the Cape Town residents. And as it gets to be time to put away my paddle board and take out my snowboard (another recreational sport requiring this important natural resource), I’ll continue to monitor my own personal water savings efforts, even as I write about your corporate ones. I look forward to hearing what you have planned in the coming year.

Keep up the good work, have a great weekend, and, as always, stay in touch.


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