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Jefferson County averages 26.5 inches of precipitation annually. Jefferson County accesses water from wells, springs, rivers, and reservoirs (such as the Wickiup Reservoir). Some bodies of water within Jefferson County include Lake Billy Chinook, Haystack Dam, Pelton Dam, and Suttle Lake.

What people are talking about

Jefferson County and the North Irrigation Unit are trying to implement a new consumable water source within Lake Billy Chinook, but what other strategies could be implemented to save water? Many locations throughout the country have old pipes and outdated water infrastructure. When pipes are old, rusted, or unclean, lead and other harmful chemicals can make water undrinkable. Also, cracking pipes can spill a lot of water that can otherwise be used for irrigation or drinking. One example of this issue is the Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs, a tribe living in Jefferson County, which has been struggling with algae in their water and water shortages for decades, partly due to such old pipes. Although the initial cost of improving water infrastructure may be pricey, the benefits of improved individual health, as well as the overall agricultural economy in the community, will greatly outweigh the cost, especially when considering people growing up to be healthier with more access to diversifying career skills and opportunities.

While several poorer communities are paying more for their water, all the while receiving less healthy water, some more affluent communities are caught overusing. Another strategy the government can use to save water is to introduce financial incentives for water conservation. For example, you could receive tax breaks if you use a certain amount of water or be fined if you use too much water per person in your home. A large percentage of students and adults alike know little to nothing about the water they’re drinking. Public education could introduce new classes and introduce new knowledge throughout primary school to teach kids how they can save water and where their water comes from. Not only will teaching people about water help people feel more connected and better understand the state of their water and the issues surrounding it, but more people will also be exposed to and interested in waterworks jobs in the future as a new generation of great minds grows up to face the newest problems troubling the world. Many places that are facing dire drought conditions have water restrictions - meaning you can only use a certain amount of water and are not allowed to use water for certain activities. Although this seems harsh, it might be what is needed in order to overcome this type of water crisis. Instead of growing traditional plants such as grass, native plants requiring less water could be used as a substitute. A step in the right direction could also be keeping a water diary, which could be helpful for many to see where water could be saved in their daily lives. For example, using a composting toilet, flushing less frequently, or taking shorter showers. "Lastly, a large portion of the water used every day can be reused. Gray water is wastewater that is not hazardous. Gray water can be reused for purposes such as watering plants or can be placed in toilets and urinals so that fresh water will not be wasted in these areas.

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