California is a state of prosperity. We have the largest economy in all of the US. In fact, if we were to secede from the United States and become our own country, we would have the 9th largest economy in the world. Unfortunately, however, we would also be a country dying of thirst. The average American wastes 76-95 GALLONS of water per day, according to the US Geological Survey. The question is, in our water-starved condition, what can really be done?
Of course, there are restaurants only serving water when it’s requested, and even some that are charging for water in our current drought. But saving glasses of water isn’t going to turn the tide. Letting our plants wither and die isn’t going to help either. Unfortunately, no matter how much water we attempt to save by these means, there will still be more water wasted. We are one measly step from a desperation level akin to that of Ted Mosby from “How I Met Your Mother”, attempting to summon rain with a tribal dance on the rooftop. Before you hop onto the roof in your pajamas and beg for rain, allow me to reemphasize that HIMYM is a TV show, and that you’re more likely to catch pneumonia than actually shaking your bonbon until it rains.
If desperately saving water through decreasing restaurant and suburban lawn usage isn’t the solution, then what is? We try to save water by limiting the amount we water our plants and serve in our restaurants, among other methods, but we don’t notice that most of the wasted water comes directly from our ever-convenient lifestyles. Our ten-fifteen minute showers, faucets left on while we soap up our pots, pans, and dishes, and drive through car washes waste more water than all the restaurant served water and metered plant watering combined.
Let’s actually square this down to only one of these topics. Waterless car wash products have been available for several years now, and they require minimal water usage. A spray bottle and some microfiber towels can make your car as shiny as it was right off the showroom floor. Yet, out of convenience, we’ve all allowed ourselves to park our cars into carwashes that can use up to 85 gallons of water in one wash. Furthermore, even if convenience is really so important to us and spending 40 minutes cleaning our cars is really out of the question, why aren’t we using the plethora of eco-friendly mobile detailers out there, many of whom will come wash your car at your home for the same money as a stationary car wash? If we really care so much about conserving water, we will have to be informed about all the methods to do it. The average car wash will go through around 100 cars per day. That is 8500 gallons of water at ONE car wash. Some of the newer, more sophisticated carwashes recycle water, but plenty of them don’t.
If you think of all the water that can be saved by just using mobile detailers instead of car washes, you’ll see that we really aren’t doing nearly what is necessary to truly conserve water. If we would just cut our shower times, only run the faucet when the water is actually being used, and stop using water-draining car washes, we would finally be on the right track to getting out of this drought together.