By Rick Bass

Most everyone has read about the water crisis at Lake Mead. Human remains have been extracted, due to the lowest water levels in history at this vital reservoir that feeds the Colorado River and supplies our Southwest cities with water Including the Vail area.

The continent of Africa has been especially hard-hit with video and news footage of animal carcasses lining the trails and pathways of native inhabitants searching for scarce food and water. Kenya’s water activist, Elizabeth Wathuti, states, “I have seen with my own eyes, three young children crying at the side of a dried up river after walking 12 miles with their mother to find no available water.”

What we take for granted in our own community is not a guaranteed forever vital natural resource. My hope that this month’s Vail Ready article can be “A Call To Action” to conserve, preserve, and protect our precious natural water resources. The website has several links to water conservation and educational information provided by local experts.

Practical Water Conservation Tips:
Turn off water when not needed. Brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.. Use only the water needed to get the job done.

Place 5-gallon buckets under shower faucets to capture cold water before a daily shower. Use to water indoor and outdoor plants and gardens.

Run washing machines and dishwashers at full capacity. Use energy conservation cycles to save water and money.

Check all household toilets for leakage. Rubber tank flappers waste gallons of water daily due to detoration and wear. Replace as needed.

Broken household irrigation lines waste water due to inattention and lack of maintenance.

Cover pools with appropriate pool covers to prevent water loss due to evaporation.

Capture rain run-off with guttering and down spouts into large plastic barrels.

Teach children how to be “water wise” in our Sonoran Desert. Stay hydrated and stay safe!

These are just a few practical tips to help all of us to conserve, preserve, and protect our vital water resources. With our hot and dry month of June, I invite everyone to be “water wise” and aware through good stewardship, education, and water conservation.

I recently trekked into Cienega Creek Preserve on the Gabe Zimmerman Trail (reservation required and was reminded how peaceful and pastoral it is. The Cienega Creek is a natural watershed and threatened by the proposed Rosemont Mine. It is hard to imagine this area endangered due to commercial development and destruction of natural habitats and aquifers. Please visit the website: Save The Scenic Santa Rita’s web site: for more information on their on-going efforts to save this natural pristine area. And… I suggest taking the family on a hike to the Cienega Creek Preserve to enjoy our great Sonoran Desert natural wonderlands – “water, our life force at work.”

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