Digging Deeper

June 22, 2015

st0621-03Energy and natural resource conservation has been one of modern society’s greatest challenges.

However, despite the efforts of various conservation movements, with unceasing growth of population and rapid industrialization, the Earth’s environment is quickly deteriorating, plagued by global warming, extreme weather conditions, and species extinction.

According to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), more than 25,000 daily heat records were broken in the United States by July 2012.

Such tall-tale signs of record heat and other environmental problems indicate one truth and one truth only: the Earth is trying to tell us something. And with ever-worsening ecological conditions of the planet, the Earth has been constantly warning of its devastating state.

In fact, in the year 2015, California faces one of the most severe droughts on record as its current drought state of emergency declared by Governor Brown in January 2014 still holds true today.

The ongoing drought conditions have not only strained drinking-water supplies for California’s 38 million people, but also presented the state with many other issues, such as increased risks of forest fires and floods. However, the problem lies deeper that it seems.

With 78% of California experiencing exceptional or extreme drought as documented by National Drought Mitigation Center, Governor Brown has approved new water efficiency requirements for public school construction and regulations for all state residents to increase water conservation.

Such action, however, misleads the public to believe that the root of the problem rests and depends on the activities occurring above ground. In actuality, the real problem and its solutions are found underground, where people cannot directly observe and, therefore, confront the consequences of water leakage.

According to California Department of Water Resources (DWR), an average loss of 10% and a range of 30% to less than 5% of the total water supplied by the utilities were found under a detailed water audit and leak detection program of 47 California water utilities.

In addition, leaks often stay underground and may cause water contamination by entering other underground facilities. Given the fact that leaks invariably get larger with time, it is not surprising that DWR estimates that up to 700,000 acre-feet of leakage from nonvisible leaks occurs in California each year, diminishing the water conservation movements and ultimately exacerbating the drought.

Although the State of California announced that nearly 400 water suppliers responded to a first-ever enforcement report, indicating a high level of local activity to respond to reports of leaks and suspected water wasting, with high initial investment costs and extensive research and planning required to effectively analyze and resolve the problem, it is true that virtually nothing is being done in regards to efficient water management.

Also, since the leaks are often unseen at the surface, it is extremely difficult to accurately pinpoint the location of the water leakage.

Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to actively seek out the solution to water leakage to prevent further case of drought. The truth is that the Earth has told us more than enough; it is time for us to listen and recover our home from our past mistakes of ignorance by digging deeper.

 

st0621-03-1 Zung Yeon Moon
Troy High School 12th Grade

One Comment

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