My viewpoint on water has been that of a consumer. I have the business of my day-to-day, after all. I have a job and the routine of bathing, washing clothes, cooking, brushing my teeth, swimming in the pool, washing my car during the day with wild abandon and admiring the beautiful Bellagio fountains when my friends visit me here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite being a resident of southern Nevada, having been warned over and over for the last 17 years, “water smart, it’s a desert out there,” I only recently grew up enough to pay attention to the crisis we face here in the western states.
I received a mailer from the Southern Nevada Water Authority ironically just a few months before I discovered the job requisition for editor-in-chief of this exact magazine, WaterWorld. The flier read, “New conservation measures established last year continue to help all sectors of our community to conserve, including: No new golf courses and stricter water limits on existing courses; no new strip water features or fountains; no evaporative cooling in commercial development; no grass in new developments; no new residential pools larger than 600 square feet.”
My logical, adult brain thought this was reasonable enough. My emotional side, on the other hand, longed for the days of irresponsibility. What might happen to the fountains at the Bellagio? No new grass? My dog loves grass! When I become a homeowner, will I have to get a plastic kiddy pool because pools will no longer be allowed? Maybe I should start washing my car at night like we’re supposed to. I had been too busy with everyday life to worry about the everyday things, like turning on the tap when I was thirsty.
I began to see water news everywhere. Reading the local papers that dedicate precious print column inches to the topic on a weekly basis elucidated me. Suddenly, every nightly news broadcast mentioning water pricked my ears. Seven states, tribal communities and Mexico take water resources from the Colorado River. Everyone wants their share, and there is not enough to go around.
Then there are the other issues my new tuning fork showed me. I began having conversations with my engineer father, who insists on a field trip to Hoover Dam every time he is here. We talk about the importance of Lake Mead and the dam creating hydroelectric power for three states and an estimated 1.3 million people and how the health of one industry informs the health of another.
Despite making great strides in water conservation regarding items mentioned above, my eyes are open to how much water is being used in the daily business of the world we live in. Just yesterday I watched workers install a fresh layer of blacktop, using water to spread thin the tar.
I’ve learned about cloud seeding, acre feet, lead pipes, lawsuits, federal intervention and proposed legislation dubbed politically charged (and sometimes alleged to be absurdist political lip service).
I am new here, but I am finally here. I look forward to joining this conversation from which I have been derelict, and I aim to do my part, not only in my personal life but as your new editor-in-chief. WW