California has four different regions: the valley, the desert, the mountains, and the coast. Of these four regions, only one has easy access to water and that water isn’t necessarily drinkable. The first part of the exhibit will explain how water is delivered to Californians. In order for California’s 38 million inhabitants to get water, the government developed a complex delivery system in which the water travels large distances, up to 700 miles, called the California State Water Project (SWP). “Today, the Project includes 34 storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes; 20 pumping plants; 4 pumping-generating plants; and 5 hydroelectric power plants” (SWP). Without this system, Southern California would be the dry desert that it naturally is and the farmlands in the valley would have no water for their crops. Californians oftentimes fail to realize how vital water is and how easy it is for them to adjust their habits to reduce their consumption by half.
Believe it or not, most people cannot even visualize how much water they consume in a single day. This would be an essential part of the exhibit: to visually and quantitatively represent how much water we consume on a daily basis. Next to the panels that explain the complex transportation system of the water, there can be a series of activities where users can pick a card at random that tells them how much water is expended during an activity and they must go attempt to carry that amount of water across the room. Upon returning, they can read suggestions as to how they can reduce the water wasted. This visual presentation will truly demonstrate to visitors how much 20 gallons of water actually is and how absurd it is that so many hundreds of gallons are wasted everyday.
The fact that water is still wasted even during our fourth year of official drought in California is preposterous. Even more preposterous is that fact that some politicians in the Bay Area were justifying their excess use of water by claiming that “any voluntary reduction in water during this year will only reduce their water next year if conditions worsen since their ration is half of their consumption.” While their statements are accurate, it is obscene that they, public officials none the less, could refuse to save water now and that they would promote such a voluntary waste of our rapidly depleting resource. Hopefully, this exhibit can show to the visitors that this type of logic is seriously flawed. These are the same politicians that suggested that California should be split into six states. Not only is this severely flawed by an economic viewpoint, but how would the water be transported across the state lines with all the bureaucratic systems in place to regulate large-scale trade between states.
At that rate that our drought is continuing, there will be no water left in our reserves by 2019 and the California government must find alternative ways to provide water to its residents. The Bay Area could build the proposed desalination plant in Monterey to provide water to the nearby cities, but large-scale desalination plants would require a large amount of capital and maintenance costs.