Let’s Not Be Pigs

Since the state of Texas is barely a blip in the wide world of the Internet, there are some people who might not be aware that we are having a serious drought here and are facing some scary prospects for a future water supply. But it’s true. My little patch of East Texas is shriveling up, and when my horse walks across the pasture, so much dust billows up I’m reminded of pictures of the terrible Dustbowl.

It’s not just here, though. The entire state is dryer than normal, with the exception of El Paso that had flooding recently, and many cities and counties have severe water restrictions.

Meanwhile, the richest people in the Dallas area are pumping millions of gallons of water on lawns and landscaping. The hay farmers have no crops this year, but Harlan Crow has seven acres of beautiful lawn. According to a story in The Dallas Morning News, Harlan Crow uses 1.8 million gallons of water a month. That’s equivalent to the total usage for 217 homes in Dallas based on an average of 8,300 gallons a month per house.

And the cost of the water that Mr. Crow is pouring on his expansive lawn? $5,859. Yikes! That’s more than twice our total monthly budget. Just because money is not an issue for that family, is that a justification for such incredible waste? And remember, it’s not just an issue of wasting money.

An editorial in the same issue of The Dallas Morning News addressed the concerns over the drought and the long-term outlook for water availability in Texas. It was pretty bleak.

If the drought continues, the major lakes serving the Dallas Metroplex will have no water source by 2007. (Anyone who has driven past Lake Lavon can attest to that. It’s not a lake. It’s a puddle.) In the next four years Texas will need a 20% increase in water sources to meet the estimated growth. The editorial writer also cited a prediction that by the year 2060, the demand for water in Texas will rise by 27%, while supplies decrease by 18%. If that gap does not close, 85% of Texans will lack sufficient water.

Many of us won’t be around by then, and some people use that fact to justify ravaging the earth’s natural resources today. “I’m going to have that Hummer and I don’t care how much gas it guzzles. I can afford it.”

“Turn off my car when I go into the store? Heaven forbid I should come out to a hot car.”

“Let my lawn go dry so we have enough water to drink next year? Naw, someone else will come up with a solution to the problem, so I don’t have to concern myself with it.”

Well, folks, here’s the deal. If we don’t concern ourselves, we’re leaving a terrible future for our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sometimes I wonder if there will even be a world for them if more people don’t get into a conservation frame of mind. There are so many ways we can save energy and water and not have to sacrifice greatly to do it.

It just means we have to think beyond the moment and our immediate wants and decide what we can live without. Maybe we don’t really need seven acres of lush grass just to look at. Maybe we can trim five minutes off our daily shower. Maybe we can drive a more fuel efficient car. Maybe we can skip one non-essential trip to the store or the mall.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to take my horse to Mr. Crow’s yard to graze.

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