Got Water? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      Did you ever wonder what's under your locallake, reservoir or pond? I found out. My town is in a Stage 3 drought, headingfor Stage 4. Lake Deforest, my town's reservoir, has dramatically reduced levelsbecause of the escalating drought. By law, we are only supposed to water ourgardens and shrubbery on certain days of the week, only receive water atrestaurants if we ask, and refrain from watering our lawns and washing our cars.Our health commissioner proclaimed, "We are facing the most serious droughtconditions in our history. Cooperation now will help preserve our drinking waterand delay more severe restrictions." This has been the worst drought sincethe 1960s.

When I drive by the reservoir, the water line is so low thatthe old railroad tracks, roadways, tree trunks and even some building foundationshave emerged. Every day I check the weather section in the newspaper for thereservoir's water level. Lately, instead of the normal 94 percent full, it hasbeen 48 percent full (52 percent empty). Last winter, ducks that would normallyrest on the ice were drawn to the center of the reservoir, the only area that wasiced over. And in the spring, driving over the causeway wasn't like the yearbefore: instead of seeing waves and feeling the cool breeze off the water, Idrove over mud.

Newspaper editorials are filled with comments about thedrought, suggesting that conserving water in pools and landscaping would be abetter alternative than taking five-minute showers. A five-minute shower seemsimpossible to me, and I'm sure for many in our town. But then again, to mosthere, unfilled pools and brown shrubbery are unheard of as well. A lot of thehouses have sprinklers and inground pools. Everyone must have perfect green grassand mowed lawns. Landscaping companies are big businesses, and so are poolcompanies. One of my best friends owns a pool, and when I told her about theregulations, she said, "Who's going to know?" A good point, consideringthat I haven't seen one officer handing out tickets for using undergroundsprinklers or filling private pools.

I'm not saying it's wrong to havefull pools and green grass, but since we don't have enough water in ourreservoir, why should we waste our drinking water on the temporary beauty of ourlawns?

Conserve, conserve, conserve. People say that ozone damage iscausing global warming, yeah, I know that's a big problem, but let's solve thelittle ones first. Let's solve this county's drought; then all of us Rocklanderscould concentrate on bigger things, like the greenhouse effect.

I'mnot saying it's going to be easy - we can't just unite the town and do a GuinnessBook of World Records' rain dance - but we can restrict ourselves and conservethe water we do have.

First, let's just deal with having patches of browngrass, it's okay. Second, it may be tough, but limit your time in the shower. Myfinal solution is to make people register to use public pools.

It's goingto be hard, and a lot of people won't be able to handle all or even one of myplans, but if any one is used, the town will see a change in the reservoirreadings. And maybe, by chance, there'll be a monsoon in the Hudson River Valleyand all our problems will be solved. If not, wepill have to resort to that countywide rain dance.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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