Editorial: The importance of water conservation

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

You may have noticed that we are looking questions concerning the water supply, and there’s not much need to ask why.

Due to the lack of rain and the fact that there was hardly any snow last winter (the slow melting snowpack high in the mountains being a major factor in the recharging of the lowland aquifers) there have been some jitters about the adequacy of the supply. Kinda makes you glad that the local water is not being sold to a bottling company like Niagara, which would be fighting a reduction in its supply tooth and nail at this point.

It’s timely because those of us who still believe, after the election, in climate change…that is, science…ought to be aware of the ways measurements are taken so that apt comparisons can be made and future protective measures can be contemplated without a screaming crisis at hand.

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We’ve said before, but it needs to be said again, that we must, in this region, be aware of exactly how lucky we are to live where water is plentiful and clean. We do tend to take for granted that what comes out when we turn the tap is potable and spews forth with great volume and force. We revel in our fortune and seem to think it is a God given right to perform our daily ablutions with seemingly unlimited gallons of, yes, steaming hot water, though there are places on the planet when a handful of pond scum is treated with reverence.

And there are places in the ole USA where this great resource has been, and is used for profit, degraded deliberately, controlled for power and abused thoughtlessly for its abundance. If, through carelessness and greed, the supply grows very short elsewhere, we must be ready with a response when covetous eyes are cast, as we were when Niagara came knocking.

So it falls to us, to up our activism and awareness, to use it but not waste it, to protect its sources and steward the land. We get an incredible boost from New York City in its zeal to, well, stay alive as a great municipality by maintaining its tight grip over its watershed, which is also a great portion of ours. Now, we know that the city doesn’t care a great deal about us, but we are nonetheless beneficiaries of its own interests, and organizations like the Coalition of Watershed Towns, Catskill Center, Catskill Heritage Alliance, Woodstock Land Conservancy and more keep our conservatory interests in the mix.

So let us not be alarmed at the moment, for the supply appears adequate. But better keep an eye on it and remember that water is truly a precious substance. Our existence depends on it.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

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