Smiths Falls

Look back in anger at green lawns in drought

Posted Jul 19, 2012 By Desmond Devoy

EMC Editorials - The one good thing about a drought, and the placing of water restrictions, is that it makes it so much easier to spot the selfish people in your neighbourhood.

While everyone else's grass has been burned to a light, crispy brown, the selfish man's lawn looks lush and green, like the Garden of Eden, by comparison.

So, just why do you deserve a green lawn when everyone else is suffering?

Yes, you pay for your water, but everyone else pays the price.

So no, you're not being green, you're just being greedy.

Hate to call it out like that, but there is no good reason to water your lawn when we are in the midst of a level II drought, with a very good likelihood that we are - if we haven't already - headed for a level III drought.

Besides, it's grass. It'll grow back when the rains return. And flowers can be replaced. But water, once it is gone, is gone.

Right now, the Rideau River is at 22 per cent of its normal flow levels, while the Jock River is at just three per cent. Our local lakes are down at least a foot. This, along with low water levels on various lakes, rivers and streams throughout the region, also reminds us that we should not be drawing water from the watershed unnecessarily.

These tinder dry conditions are also a chance to remind smokers who like to throw their cigarette butts out their car windows. At least two fires that we know of, one near Richmond, the other outside of Smiths Falls, were started by smokers carelessly discarding their cigarette butts. All it takes is the remaining embers from a cigarette butt improperly put out to set off a large pile of grass that has been dried out after hour upon hour of plus 40-degree heat and humidity.

It can take something as simple as a Tim Horton's cup with water, or cold coffee, or a water bottle, sitting in one of your car's cup holders, to place your butts in once you've dealt with your nic fit, thereby properly extinguishing them. Yeah, it might look a little dirty, but then again, so is the sight of acres of charred forests.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) is asking everyone to do what they can to cut their water consumption by 20 per cent. This could mean washing bigger loads of laundry, doing it less frequently, taking a shower instead of a bath. There are also splash pads in Smiths Falls and Carleton Place, as well as wading pools in Smiths Falls, not to mention beaches in the aforementioned communities, as well as Almonte and a pool in Kemptville.

It doesn't appear likely that we will get any significant relief any time soon, or at least not enough to return water levels to where they should be.

Even people who do the right thing, like utilize rain barrels, are up a creek - so to speak - because, with little to no rain over the past month, there has been no rain to collect in the barrels.

We will all have to make sacrifices to get through the severity of this drought. The RVCA is aware of this and is asking individuals or businesses in the area who may be experiencing problems or hardships can contact them at 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504, ext. 1128 or 1132.

Do what you feel you need to do, can do, to reduce your water use. Because when we all save, we all win. And when we're greedy, we all lose - permanently.

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