For winter enthusiasts, 2015 could very well have been an extended warm-up for summer break.
According to a Reno Gazette-Journal article by Jeff DeLong, the snowpack last Tuesday was measured at only 3 percent of the normal amount and the Truckee River Basin’s snowpack was measured at 14 percent. What these numbers both indicate is that the drought taking place in Northern Nevada and California is getting stronger in its fourth year. This year’s drought was record-breaking, and not in a good way. As Jeff Anderson, a snow surveyor for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service pointed out, “it’s pretty bad, the worst [snowpack] in a century.” Indeed, with snow season in the rearview mirror, the summer months will be arduous.
With water consumption becoming much more critical due to the lack of snowfall in the Sierras and in Lake Tahoe, students and administration need to prep themselves for a much different summer. While it is likely that members of the region will still enjoy the three-month break, conservation is highly important in order to avoid the drought problem, which has escalated to a debilitating level. Here are some tips to help fight back against the drought:
BE AWARE OF YOUR RESOURCES
One of the biggest issues that many students face is that they sometimes lose the presence of mind to see beyond their time-consuming schedules. The same could be said for administration and faculty at the university, but the notion of conserving even a small amount of water can be lost amid the hustle and bustle of finals season. However, being able to stave off some water use can be extremely beneficial in the long run and help to take the load off of the conservation efforts.
According to the aforementioned article in the RGJ, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority in the Reno-Sparks area has urged customers to immediately cut their water usage by 10 percent. This might seem like quite a bit to residents, but the amount of water that is misused during the day or is underutilized is alarming. Whether it is watering your yard throughout the morning while you run errands or forgetting to turn off the faucet, there are many small problems that can escalate to major dilemmas. However, these are easy fixes even if you only carve out a small sliver of your day to solve them.
TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE SITUATION
Water conservation in Nevada is an issue that affects not only your everyday lifestyle, but also the livelihood of everyone around you. Unlike bills in the Nevada Legislature, which sometimes take weeks of deliberation, water usage can be impacted immediately by anyone. By speaking with your friends and making them aware that this dangerous situation exists, you could help to alleviate some of the pressure. In fact, since members of the university agreed at a meeting last week that the situation was indeed serious, you will hopefully be ahead of a campus movement to become more responsible with your water use.
LESS IS MORE
There are plenty of ways to find more efficient outlets for dispersing water in the region. For example, instead of casually using disposable plastic bottles, think of investing in an eco-friendly bottle that can be used multiple times instead of just once. If you are a homeowner or have a green thumb, now is the time to root feed trees and fertilize your lawns, according to the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.
No one is asking you to live a lifestyle where you need to cut water usage down significantly in your life, but to manage it more effectively than you would have in years past. Those 15-minute showers are well-warranted after a tough exam, but they can be cut out if you are doing them every morning.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.