60 Minutes: The Colorado River in Crisis - How Can You Help?

A segment on how the Colorado River is in crisis was feature on the Sunday October 24th, 2021 episode of 60 Minutes.


Bill Whitcker reported:

"This past week, California declared a statewide drought emergency. It follows the first-ever federal shortage declaration on the Colorado River, triggering cuts to water supplies in the Southwest. The Colorado is the lifeblood of the region. It waters some of the country's fastest-growing cities, nourishes some of our most fertile fields and powers $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity. The river runs more than 1,400 miles, from headwaters in the Rockies to its delta in northern Mexico where it ends in a trickle. Seven states and 30 Native American tribes lie in the Colorado River Basin. Lately, the river has been running dry due to the historically severe drought.


The majestic, meandering Colorado River that cut through these red cliffs, carving the Grand Canyon, is a wonder of nature and human ingenuity. The Glen Canyon Dam created Lake Powell and 300 miles down river Lake Mead sits behind the Hoover Dam. These reservoirs are now being sucked dry by 40 million different straws - that's the number of people in booming western states who depend on the Colorado to quench their thirst, power their homes, water lawns and splash in the sun. Its waters irrigate farms that produce 90% of the country's winter greens. To all these demands add the stress of a 22 year drought - as dry as any period in 1,200 years - and you have a river in crisis"

To read the full episode transcript you can go to: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-river-water-level-60-minutes-2021-10-24/


So how can we help?

Well the good news is that we can make a difference if we all work together and contribute a little everyday towards water savings. The first step is education and understanding where there is significant water usage. For example, the largest usage of fresh water in a typical home is for toilets (approximately 25%-30%). So having a high efficiency toilet can make an impactful reduction in water consumption.


Furthermore, if we can eliminate ALL fresh water usage for toilets, for example with the WATERouter® concept, we can reduce the entire household consumption by 25%-30%, a significant amount!



The following are all simple things each us us can do, right now today, which have little to no impact on our daily routines, but a tremendous impact on our water conservation and the environment.


Turn OFF the water while you are brushing your teeth.

Did you know that if you leave the water running while brushing you could be letting 5 gallons of fresh water go down the drain! If you brush morning and night and have four members in your family, that is possibly 40 gallons per day, or 14, 480 gallons in one year.



Use your DISHWASHER.

While you might think washing dishes by hand might be the better option when it comes to the environment. An energy efficient automatic dishwasher uses 4 to 12 gallons of water, while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons. So load up that dishwasher and let it do the work for you.




WEAR it again.

Before washing your clothes ask yourself, can I wear this again? Jeans and other clothing can easily be worn multiple times before washing. Most high-efficiency washers use only 15 to 30 gallons of water to wash the same amount of clothes as older washers which used 29 to 45 gallons per load.

INSTALL a Rain Barrel.

Did you know that the average roof collects 600 gallons of water for every inch of rain? . Rain barrels are one simple first step that can set small business owners, schools, homeowners, and corporations down the path of freshwater conservation. According to the EPA, rain barrels have the ability to save the average homeowner 1300 gallons of water. So what can you do with all this rainwater that collects in the barrels? Water your plants, water a composter, or wash your car.

 

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