Earth Day Network

Puerto Rico’s Water Conservation Mandates are not Equal

We have all been through it.  Minor droughts have become pretty commonplace in the past few years.  For most of us, we stop washing our cars and watering our plants until the drought passes.  But for places like Puerto Rico, they have to put in a lot more effort in order to conserve water.  Currently, Puerto Rico is experiencing an extreme drought and their water reservoir levels have dropped to a record low.

Residents were restricted to water access every three days, then that was further restricted to twice a week.  This forced farmers to get creative with how they maintained their crops.  Some put in drip irrigation lines while some are building cisterns or grey water systems to reuse shower or sink water.  One family even went so far as to build a composting toilet instead of a flushing toilet in order to save extra water for their crops.  Unfortunately, a lot of these strategic water cutbacks involve money, which not a lot of people have as a result of Puerto Rico’s recent debt crisis.

While the residents of Puerto Rico suffering through water outages and conserving water every chance they get, it would be logical to assume that everyone in Puerto Rico is following suit.  But that would be incorrect.

The visitors at these Puerto Rican resorts are blissfully unaware of the struggle to conserve water off of the resort property while they are enjoying green grass, private pools, and decorative fountains.  While residents of Puerto Rico are living with water outages spanning 3 or 4 days, the resorts on the island have the luxury of unlimited water access.  Reportedly, some resorts do try to implement water conservation techniques but these attempts are ineffective at best.

Just like the drought in California, certain areas and people are working to conserve water while others are not.  It is time to change these practices and encourage everyone to commit to conserving water during droughts.  Green lawns might be a nice luxury to have, but they are completely useless if we have no water left for our own survival.

Maurita Obermiller, Intern 

Earth Day is April 22, 2017
Join us for Global Teach-Ins and the March for Science