Forgotten drought spells dry reminder

by Emily Alvarenga , Staff Columnist

California, at least the southern part where San Diego is located, is considered a desert. However, with this ongoing drought, it seems as though many Californians, as a whole, don’t realize that. Now as California enters its fourth year of this severe drought, it’s definitely something more people should be paying attention to.

With a heightened sense of publicity, last year Californians began to grasp the severity of the drought, people were starting to save water and actually paying attention to how much water they were using.  Even San Diego State students had begun to worry resulting in the Aztec Recreation Center jumping on board with saving water. But it only took a wet December to wash the worry from people’s minds.

But now, it’s like last year was a bad nightmare, and even though the drought has gotten severely worse, we have stopped caring.

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought state of emergency in January, and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. According to a recent survey conducted by the state Water Resources Control Board, water conservation declined 14.1 percent from the months of December to January in Southern California alone.

Southern California, SDSU students included, needs to realize the severity of this problem and do their part to conserve water for more than a complete semester. There is no excuse for people’s ignorance regarding the severity of the problem or its solutions. Taking shorter showers or turning off the water while brushing teeth doesn’t seem like much, but the little things add up. It may seem like a no-brainer to take the longest showers ever because for a lot of students, utilities are included in rent, but the environment can’t handle it.

But now, it’s like last year was a bad nightmare, and even though the drought has not significantly improved, we have stopped caring.”

“If 2015, and then 2016, continue to be dry, we will look back on today, and this month, let alone the last year, wishing we’d saved more water now,” State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus said. “This board is prepared to make some tough decisions in the coming months, including adopting permanent, rather than emergency water conservation measures, going forward. It is that serious.”

Although some students aren’t from the area, and may not know the conditions of Southern California, the information isn’t hard to access. California’s drought conditions have been very prevalent on the news these past few months, at least until the beginning of this year.

“I knew we were in a drought,” business senior Jake Riggens said. “I just had no idea how bad it was. And I admit, I used water just as much as, maybe even more, than I would if we weren’t in a drought. You don’t think that just your water usage can change anything – you think that even if you use a lot of water, everyone else’s savings make up for it.”

The problem with this mindset is it doesn’t stop at one person’s ignorance. If a group of people thought the same way, it would be enough to cause serious damage to an existing problem. This mentality leads to a community where everyone is depending on the other to save the water they aren’t — this damaging mentality is evident in current stats.

If we continue to use water the way we are, the State Water Board will have no choice but to implement an emergency regulation supporting water conservation. This regulation is extremely serious. It will not only regulate how much water we use outdoors on our landscapes, but it will also regulate how much water we are allowed to use in our homes, which will affect us all greatly.

I know I don’t want to run out of water in my house and not be able to even flush my toilet because I used my allotment of water for the month, do you? These will be the results soon if people don’t begin to educate themselves on the drought and its consequences.

This drought is more serious than most have realized and if we don’t shape up, and quickly, there will be many dry months ahead of Southern Californians. Do your part; save the water that you can so that we won’t be put in such a terrible situation.