As published in Lakeway Voice, April 2020.
April is Water Conservation Month
Recently, we’ve all faced the panic of supply shortages. Many of the commodities we previously took for granted were not as readily available. Stores were faced with rethinking their supply and demand framework, putting strict limits on the items people were all of a sudden buying in bulk. It strained our system and consumers were charged with rethinking convenience. It brings up the question: what else do we take for granted and how can we help ensure adequate resources for all? In recognition of April as Water Conservation Month, as a water provider – the supplier of one of the most necessary commodities in the world, and yet highly underappreciated – we’d like you to consider the stance of “Take only what you need.”
Think about this: water is vital to all life on Earth, yet there is no viable way to manufacture it. Almost the same amount of water that existed from the beginning of time exists today, but where it is in the water cycle and how humans interact with it determines the amount available for use. Technologies now exist that allow water operators to clean just about any water to drinking standards, but even routine treatment of a reliable raw water source takes a multi-step process and continual monitoring that can be expensive and time consuming.
Historic data shows that Lake Travis – Lakeway’s only source for raw water, which is cleaned to drinking water standards – is in a constant state of drought, dotted by floods. Local water providers, like Lakeway Municipal Utility District (LMUD), aim to supply an adequate amount of drinking water throughout the year to accommodate the community’s demand during wet seasons as well as the long, hot summers when usage increases. Thanks to the strategic planning initiatives of these local water providers, our community faces minimal water shortages, even in times of drought. However, strains on the system caused by extended drought or heightened use are possible.
Authorities are confident that what’s going to pull us through the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is preventative measures implemented by the masses. In this way, we are not only looking out for ourselves, but our neighbors and beyond. We’re realizing now more so than ever that we are all connected. If the actions of a few people in a small, remote town in China can impact the world, consider the impact each of us can make on our own community. You matter. Your actions matter.
You turn on the faucet in your kitchen and clean water comes out. Your bathtub readily fills with warm water. Your toilet flushes. Your sprinklers keep your grass green. We use water for so many purposes each and every day, but the people and the processes behind the system that make that convenience possible are overlooked. The more you understand, the more you gain an appreciation for what was once taken for granted.
If we each take only what we need – from water usage to shopping habits and freely given handouts – how can we impact our own life? Our community? The world? If you take less, maybe you’ll be able to give more.
Written by Stephanie Threinen, Public Information Liaison, LMUD. Earl Foster is the General Manager of LMUD.