Idaho is the third largest water consumer in the U.S., with 19.5 billion gallons of freshwater used daily across the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Despite the onset of an environmental and economic toll from a recent historic drought, water usage has still been at exponential heights. This year, as of May 27, 79.9% of Idaho is in some form of drought ranging from moderate to exceptional. Livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across Idaho were at threat throughout the summer and are still facing impacts on future crops, along with uncertainty circulating around water supply. Their crops withered and wasted, livestock was sold off, and trees have been stressed and threatened by insect infestation, fish and wildlife populations have decreased, habitats are degraded, and hydropower generation is affected. Amidst these catastrophic impacts, lawns and public spaces continued being copiously watered, most citizens oblivious to the extreme conditions facing our beautiful Idaho. This drought came with intense heat, drying of river beds along the Wood River Valley, and brought high fire dangers. All of these threats can be reduced with the lowering of water use (especially for lawns) and among households and businesses. Living in Hailey, I witness lawns being watered every day, tree wells flooded, and an excessive amount of water being wasted. Idahoans use nearly 233 gallons per person per day in homes and businesses, by spreading awareness we can all collectively make a difference and use water efficiently, not copiously. While domestic and commercial water use make up a small percentage in Idaho compared to agriculture, which is the livelihood of our state, it is still enough to make an impact during times like these.
Adri Meyer, Hailey