Water Resources Deserve Care, Conservation


By Ginny Hibbard

All of us open and close a water faucet multiple times in a 24-hour period. Do we think about how the water comes to be running through our faucets? I doubt if many people think about it at all. It is such a “normal” thing.

There are several different ways we can get water for our use. The old way was taking a bucket to the stream, but we have improved over the years. Now, one way of solving is to draw water by pumping from an underground aquifer (well). Aquifers are underground rivers and lakes that are there below us, but we can’t see them. Another way to get water is from a stream or lake, which is called surface water.

The majority of people believe water is always a renewable resource. That assumption is not true. Water is not a renewable resource, unless we use no more than what falls from the sky as rain or snow and seeps into the underground lakes and rivers to replenish these aquifers. If we use more water than what falls from the sky, water becomes non-renewable. Think more about the word ‘more,’ as it is very telling.

What does that fact mean to we who open a faucet of one kind or another inside the household or irrigating the yard? What it means is we, the citizens, need to conserve. The federal government’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA) has rules and regulations for all of the states to oversee. The state is supposed to oversee both small and large water systems, so that they adhere to EPA rules and regulations. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to happen often enough, possibly in any state throughout the country. The systems all know what is lawful and what is not, therefore leaving them with no excuse that they didn’t know or understand.

The city of Redding Water Department must comply with those rules and regulations. The rules state the water systems are to have wells, surface water, surface storages, and even homes tested for quality on set schedules. There are tests for a variety of contaminants, including arsenic. These tests aren’t to be done when the city wants to do them, but when mandated.

Recently my area received one of those costly letters from the Water Department informing us of arsenic in our water. How do we know if a person is able to tolerate the amount of arsenic into their bodies without some kind of harm? Even the acceptable arsenic level allowed in the water today is lower than a few years ago. It is inexcusable for the city not to have completed mandatory testing on time or at all. Incompetence is inexcusable.

One of the regulations requires a conservation plan, including irrigation amount and schedules. Well, there isn’t one in Redding, unless the City has the plan hidden. I see irrigation systems being turned on for lawns sometimes three or four times a day. Some sidewalks have slimy, slick moss caused by overwatering and runoff. The ground is so saturated, it is as though one is walking on a water-soaked sponge!

When a Water Department employee came to my house a few years ago, I attempted to explain about the water not always being renewable resource. He kept saying it came from under the Sacramento River (aquifer) for the majority of the water system’s draw. When I was able to finally make him understand the danger of overuse and not having a water conservation plan — other than free brochures on saving water and shower restrictors — he said to shush as the city made money on the water and that paid his salary! Golly, gee, whiz!

Just think about how Shasta Dam looks today. It is so low this year many structures in the lakebed are showing that haven’t been visible for many years. Lack of water in Shasta Dam means less water is seeping back into the aquifers. Redding’s Water Department has no excuse for shoddy work, whether from lack of testing, proper testing or of a good, comprehensive conservation plan. The big question is why is it happening and how is it going to be rectified, and when?


Ginny Hibbard has Chuck’s Hats for Chemo, which she started in 2003 after her husband died from cancer. Crafters make and donate hats for their own communities’ cancer patients all over the world.

Guest Speaker