The Following Article is from the Summer 2010 Newsletter
Scientists across the board agree, that in order to have life, there must be water. Many of you, myself included, take water for granted.
According to Water for People, a non-profit organization, 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.5 million are without adequate sanitation facilities. Every day, nearly 6,000 people who share our planet, die of water related illnesses, the vast majority are children. We are fortunate, while others are not.
Here is another question for you in Santa Monica- Do you know the significance of 1996 and your water? Until recently I did not.
Before 1996, most of Santa Monica’s water came from underground aquifers (wells). In the early 90’s, oil companies sold gasoline that was intended to emit less pollution into the air. Unfortunately, the primary additive, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (or MTBE) contaminated Santa Monica’s main source of drinking water due to leaking underground tanks.
As a result,Santa Monicanow purchases almost all of its water from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). Throughout our country and especially in the southwest, states are fighting each other for water rights. Increasing droughts and growing populations add to the demand for fresh, safe drinking water.
Have you noticed an increase on your water bill? You should have; and Santa Monicais schedule for more rate increases. In fact, the more you use, the higher your rate will be.
The MWD estimates that 20% ofCalifornia’s electricity and 30% of its natural gas usage is used just to move and treat our water!
The next time you turn your faucet handle and enjoy a clean splash of the world’s finest water, think about the shock of electricity or blast of fire that comes along with that water. Literally- coins going straight down your drain!
Our water consumption is not just limited to our bathrooms and kitchens. In fact it is estimated that most homeowners use almost two-thirds of our water outside of our walls. This is usually for watering our gardens and lawns. The City of Santa Monica is devoting resources to educate and enforce the public on water use and water conservation.
Many of you will remember when hundreds of homeowners were cited for having hedges that exceeded the zoning ordinance. This is nothing compared to the water enforcement crew that will be citing Santa Monicans for over spray of outdoor sprinklers. Besides wasting a precious recourse, that run-off water goes into the street taking pesticides, animal waste and other unhealthy contaminants into our belovedSanta MonicaBay. Think of it as fertilizer, brake dust, dog poop, insecticides and money going into the Bay.
OK…so now do I have your attention?
The good news is that cities , includingSanta Monica, are putting their money where their mouth is. Last year, the city council passed a green building ordinance that included new landscaping requirements. Not only will the intended gardens use less water, but they also result in less solid waste and fewer maintenance hours. In fact, the city has a wonderful experiment comparing a conventional garden and a water-friendly garden onPearl Street, behindSanta MonicaCollege.
John Lee is the managing partner of Lee Capital Partners, LLC. Lee Capital builds LEED registered green homes. The development company’s strategy is to build green homes that blend in with the neighborhood’s architecture using traditional styling and finishes.
John’s construction company, Lee Capital Builders, is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Lee Capital Builders is a design/build construction company that takes on projects from small remodels to ground-up custom homes. John and his family reside in Santa Monica in a home that he built.