Marin residents find ways to conserve water in light of California drought

Ella Cook

Drained, dried out and depleted, California endures its fourth year of drought. However not all of the state is lacking water. The Marin Municipal Water District, in spite of some of the lowest rainfall it’s had in years, has kept itself hydrated through efforts of conservation and smart water use.

While Marin is not technically in a drought-state, the county is still affected.

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Daniel Carney, Marin’s water conservation program manager, believes the county’s citizens should still be conserving water.

“Whether it is raining or not in the rest of the state, we always have to be really mindful for water conservation in Marin county for that reason,” said Carney.

The Marin County Water District created multiple programs in order to conserve water. The water district added 10 new programs in order to maintain the most efficient and effective water storage. “We have about 1,000 miles of pipeline under the ground at pump stations with all types of infrastructure that we maintain so we have a very aggressive program of finding and repairing leaks throughout the district,” Carney said .

According to a recent Bark survey only sixty percent of students make an effort to conserve water.

Senior Elliot Dean and freshman Tyler Cullen have been conserving water through a business they started called Marin EcoWash, “a waterless car wash that comes to you.”       

Marin EcoWash uses a compound called Eco Touch,  a concentrated compound which breaks down dirt and shines cars without using water.    

“[We]  just spray a small coat on [the car] and use microfiber towels to wipe it off. [The solution] cleans the car just as well as water would. You also only have to use a few ounces of the solution instead of 15 or so gallons of water,” Dean said.

Dean and Cullen charge $15 for sedans and $18 for SUV’s.

Marin EcoWash was started by Dean and Cullen  at the beginning of the school year and has been growing ever since.

“So far we’ve been doing a lot with just family connections and neighborhood connections as well. But now we are trying to actually get involved with local businesses and offer it to clients at their businesses,” Dean said.

Both students got interested in smart water use through their parents involvement in water conservation.

Dean explains how his mother’s entrepreneurship inspired him to start the business with Cullen.

“Most of the stuff we talk about is impossible for highschool kids to do and so this idea [of a waterless car wash] came from [Cullen’s] moms’ climate change organization as well as something that was actually plausible to do,” Dean said.

Dean believes that even though Marin is technically not in a drought the community should still make an effort to conserve water.

“Water is a finite resource. Especially here, we might take it for granted a lot,” Dean said.“It’s important to realize that every time we are using water…it’s coming from somewhere where there’s a [limited] amount of it.”

According to Carney, most Marin residents are unaware of our storage conditions. Additionally, it is hard to predict the weather patterns in the future.

“In the Marin Municipal Water District about 80 percent of our water is collected and stored locally from our watersheds,” Carney said. “Under normal usage conditions we really don’t have more than two years of storage at any given time. Even when reservoirs are full we have very little water storage.”

In addition to affecting personal water use, Marin’s low rainfall is also impacting the county’s fire department.

Jeremy Pierce, Operations Battalion Chief of the Marin County Fire Department, explains that the county’s dry climate is posing challenges in the way they are dealing with fires.

According to Pierce, the lack of rainfall is resulting in a lower moisture content in vegetation that fuel fires. “That being said, our fires get bigger, our fires burn a little bit hotter and they are a little bit harder to contain,” Pierce said.

While Marin has kept itself hydrated through water conservation, it is still feeling the effects of the drought.

According to Pierce, although Marin County isn’t technically in a drought, the fire department still experiences its effects.

“Due to the drought, we e now have to keep track of how much water we use on a fire and where we get it from. If we get it from a private source, we will then reimburse the party that we use the water from either with money or water,” Pierce said .

Marin County is part of California’s mutual aid system, meaning Marin’s water resources are used in other parts of the state to fight fires.

“Theres a lot to learn, the water picture in California is very complex so it is really difficult for an average citizen to comprehend that.” Carney said.