Thinking Aloud: Water supply on loan from generations

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites.

&045;William Ruckelshaus

The City of Calera has imposed mandatory water restrictions on its citizens and the Shelby County Commission has requested voluntary watering restrictions be observed.

The restrictions ask households with even number addresses limit their outside water use to Monday and Thursday between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Odd number addresses are being asked to water during the same hours on Tuesday and Friday. No outside water use on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday allows time for water systems to recover and replenish.

Much has been said and written about water in Shelby County; behind congested traffic and bulging classrooms, it is perhaps our most common topic of conversation in the summer [college football, of course, excluded]. No doubt the topic of water, how much of it we have, how we may or may not waste it, how we can conserve it, etc. have been hot topics at coffee shops across the county.

Sometimes, you can get better information from those coffee shop conversations than you can from many news outlets. If those coffee shop conversations have gone as most I have overheard the volume tends to increase as the subject turns to what we, as local citizens, can do to help conserve. In a conservative community such as this one, people tend to get nervous when &8220;government&8221; tells them what they can and cannot do.

As a person with a thirsty lawn and an interest in having a green landscape, I have found both Calera&8217;s and the county&8217;s request fairly easy to honor.

County and Calera officials are responding appropriately by asking us to be judicious with our water consumption. Likewise, they are serving us well by investing heavily in infrastructure that will accommodate future water needs. But regardless of our best efforts, as our county continues to grow and weather remains unpredictable, water concerns will not be eliminated.

Certainly, nothing will fix the problem like several good soaking rains but while waiting for those rains to come, we are the best interim solutions. Think of the water we have not so much as an inheritance from our parents and grandparents but more as something we are borrowing from our children and grandchildren