The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
I am an international student from China. I am currently a student at Pima Community College. Having lived here for nearly three years, I feel very fortunate to be in Tucson, a clean, bustling, disaster-free and charming city. I like this place very much, because it is very similar to my hometown Jinan, especially the climate here, cold in winter, hot in summer, and rainy in summer.
Unfortunately, as the Colorado River continues to shrink, that means the entire Tucson area will be affected. What’s more, it will not only affect residents’ daily use of water, but also agricultural water will be greatly affected. In the longer term, the Tucson area’s food supply and economy could also be severely depleted by water shortages. With the Colorado River’s water level falling, the need to address the water shortages is extremely urgent. I would like to make my contribution and put forward some suggestions to improve the water shortage in Tucson.
My first suggestion is to start with government regulation, specifically the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s regulation of water. Since I’ve been living in Tucson, I found a lot of places have water overuse and waste problems. For example, a lot of water has been wasted on flushing toilets. When I traveled to Japan, I saw a lot of toilets with advanced technology that used only a small amount of water to flush the toilet. So I suggest the government can appeal to every household to change a toilet that can save water, or the government grants money to every struggling family so that they can afford to replace a toilet.
Another thing I found related to water waste is the tap water. When I wash dishes every night, I would usually turn the tap water to a full volume, for it was easy to clean the stains on dishes. However, sometimes when I turn the tap water to a half volume, and use a sponge to clean the dishes, I can still clean the dishes. In that way, I could save plenty of water. So I suggest that the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality reduce the pressure of water that is sent to each household. In this way, it is easy for the government to control the use of water, and easy to save water.
Besides letting the government regulate the use of water, it is important to let the government give money to researchers to develop better technologies for store water. Because Tucson has a hot desert climate, it is characterized by very dry, hot weather and less than 250mm (about 10 inches) annual rainfall. As we develop more advanced technology to store it, that rainfall can still be used efficiently for all residents. Because global warming is not a problem that can be solved in a short period of time, we need to solve it in the long term. The education of young people is a very important link, because their mentality is very easily swayed. If we can instill in our children from an early age that saving water is a virtue and that everyone needs to do it, they will be more conscious of their water usage throughout their lives. Not only can we do this through teachers at schools, but also we can put this information on TV and social media, for this will make it easier for children to understand the information and influence their ideas about water use.
As a Chinese student with a unique feeling for Tucson, I hope to see harmony and prosperity in Tucson. These are some of my suggestions for possible future Tucson water shortages. Hopefully these suggestions will help the government and the people of Tucson.
Yichao Ren is an international student at Pima Community College.