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For the week of August 2 through 8, 2000

Be water smart

The local skies are smoky from fires elsewhere in the state, but the tap water is running. But don’t be fooled. The water is no assurance the valley will not face more extreme impacts from the intense drought this summer. It’s hot, tinder dry, with no relief in sight.

Residential, recreational and commercial growth means no one can take the valley’s water resources for granted anymore. There used to be plenty of water to go around within the valley’s communities, even during drought years, but things have changed.

Both Sun Valley and Bellevue are having problems pumping enough water for both lawns and fire reserves. The U.S. Forest Service has banned campfires in many places. Dropping well levels and stream flows indicate that existing water supplies are strained and that residents should be concerned.

Fire is no stranger to the valley. Local governments have not yet imposed any serious water conservation measures. They are looking first to voluntary measures.

If the valley is to avoid fire, everyone will have to get serious about conserving. Sacrificing emerald green lawns is a small price to pay to ensure enough water for local fire departments to put out house fires or beat back wildfires in areas where the sage meets the suburbs.

County residents should heed the warnings of fire professionals and take measures to protect property. They should clear brush and weeds away from homes to create fire protection zones.

Visitors should be aware that something as simple as parking a vehicle with a hot exhaust pipe in dry brush could trigger a fire.

August has started out hot. With a little luck and a little common sense, we may be able to avoid making it any hotter.


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