Water IS life; ensure its purity
By Suha Chari
Sustainable Scripps Ranch
When I first installed greywater and rainwater systems years ago, I was concerned about neighbors’ reactions, but have since faced nothing but curiosity, wonder and admiration.
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water,” wrote Loren Eiseley, the science essayist.
That is a quote San Diegans can fully identify with.
Faced with increasing drought conditions, we have learned to adapt. Over two decades, rain barrels have become a common sight. Sustainable succulent gardens have replaced thirsty lawns. Mulching and composting are gaining ground. Berms and swales are common parlance, as residents try to capture decreasing rainfall. These, along with greywater usage, go a long way toward ensuring water security in San Diego.
The City encourages these efforts, so do avail of:
1. free mulch from the Miramar greenery, and compost for a fee.
2. free usage audit by the water department.
3. rebates for transforming lawns, and putting in water-saving structures.
For comprehensive information on rebates and conservation ideas, see sandiego.gov/public-utilities/sustainability/water-conservation.
Some ways to keep saving:
1. Water plants early or late in the day.
2. Don’t use pesticides in your yard – they destroy soil microbes and leach into the runoff, causing more contamination.
3. Only rainwater should go down the storm drain. Pick up any trash that might wash off. Don’t hose down your car.
As I walk around Scripps Ranch, I’m heartened to see young folk washing cars with awareness, a bucket
and rags. How does that matter? Besides the fact that hosing uses more water, soap goes into storm drains, affecting ducks and creatures living downstream.
Eventually, everything we discard ends up in the ocean, affecting all life. If you must use soap, opt for earth-friendly ones like Ecos and Oasis.
Plastics need special mention. We’ve seen pictures of dead birds’ innards filled with plastic. The huge Pacific Garbage Patch prevents light from reaching algae and plankton in the ocean, affecting all creatures up the food chain.
Out of sight, out of mind? Wrong! These plastics have now made their way into our bodies as microplastics in our water and seafood. We can no longer ignore our use of them, especially single use ones. None of it ever degrades, but just breaks into smaller pieces.
We are mostly water. Let’s ensure its purity for our sake, and for life all around us.