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The Green Life: Creative Water Rationing

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May 26, 2009

Creative Water Rationing

Drought Faced with the worst drought they'd ever seen, the Northern California coastal town of Bolinas quickly realized that praying for rain wasn't going to cut it. Their only water source was bone-dry and the next big rains were 300 days away.

The city took the number of gallons in reserves, divided it by the number of homes in the community, and strictly allotted each family 150 gallons per day -- the same amount of water used in one trip through the car wash.

The biggest change most families made was to actually step outside and check their water meter each day, something that doesn't even occur to most people. "It's embarrassing," said resident Bob Demmerle during an NPR interview. "Mostly our family was letting water run down the drain."

The local elementary school turned this tough time into an opportunity to teach kids about water conservation. Some tips from the water-savvy elementary schoolers include:

  • Bring a water bottle to school because when you drink out of the drinking fountain, 25 percent of the water goes down the drain.
  • Put coolers (or buckets) under the shower until the water gets warm and use that water to water the plants.
  • And that oldie but goodie: If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down.

--Jordana Fyne

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