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Water conservation panelists discuss initiatives

April 17, 2018

Rebecca Dodge, Isaac Christiansen, Donovan Irven and Whitney Snow discuss water usage at a panel April 16. Photo by Samuel Frederick

To discuss the past, present and future initiatives toward water conservation in Texas and Wichita Falls, the Environment Science Organization members held a panel discussion in Dillard 101 on April 16.

List of Panelists

  • Isaac Christiansen | assistant professor of sociology
  • Rebecca Dodge | associate professor of geosciences
  • Donovan Irven | visiting assistant professor of philosophy
  • James Masuoka | associate professor of biology
  • Whitney Snow | assistant professor of history

In front of about 40 people, panelists concluded that water is misused and poorly allocated. In a world with an abundance of water, two out 0f every five people deal with water scarcity. They also said people will continue to take water for granted until it is all used up. They are doing what they can to educate students on ways we can tackle this issue.

Those on the panel said they believe while political involvement is key, there are a few practical ways we can save water that are inexpensive and could be very valuable.

“Rainwater capture is a great way to conserve, the water can be used for irrigation and it doesn’t have to be treated which would led to a lot less spending,” Dodge said. “We use treated drinkable water to water our grass and it’s insane.”

Members of the panel gave their ideas about what it would take to get our generation more involved in pressing against this issue.

“Education is the long term answer, I believe if more people knew the affects of misusing water then more of them would take steps to help out in ways that they can,” Irven said.

Though they agreed on the issue and education’s importance in solving the issue, one of the panelist said she does not believe that voluntary and optional programs are the way to go, rather it should be mandated through legislation.

Snow said, “Voluntary programs do not work as well as actual laws would, people can be selfish and its human nature to think, ‘Well I’m paying for it, I can do whatever I darn well please with my water,’ so I think laws would be the most effective way for change. ”

To the panel, water conservation can be as simple as changing a few habits. Dodge said things such as not leaving the water running while you brush your teeth or taking shorter showers could potentially go a long way and we as students have more power than we realize.

“You can do it. You as students can have an impact,” Dodge said. “One person does it, then your roommate does it, then their friend does it. Influence is very powerful and can make a big difference,”

Students attending the event said they learned new information about water conservation and have ideas on ways to solve this problem.

“I learned we are potentially closer to losing our water usage than I thought and the biggest influencers on problem starts with the younger generation,” Taylor Bilotta, English sophomore, said. “Wichita Falls’ best approach to this problem is to start locally and focus on water conservation here.”

Baily Malone, nursing sophomore, came for extra credit but said she learned some valuable things she didn’t know before.

“I didn’t know rain barrels could be useful for conserving water. I also will not keep the sink on while brushing my teeth because that little change can lead to a big change,” Malone said.

While some students said they attended the event for extra credit, they still learned some things about water conservation.

“I learned how important it is to try to conserve water and especially in Wichita Falls. I just came for extra credit but the topic was interesting to learn about because it can affect all of us,” Kristel Richards, geology junior, said.

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