Friday, April 27, 2007

About Time 

Being a Californian by birth and upbringing, water has always been in my thoughts. California is a dry state, not as dry as Arizona or Nevada but parched nonetheless and dependent on water runoff from snows in the high Sierra mountains. This year, Southern California is entering the second year of a drought with only about an inch of rain for the last 10 months. Yet, water conservation was never a major issue unless momentarily there was a sector of the state that went dry. Now there is a public relations campaign to promote conservation. It's about time. The history of water in the state has always been one of finding it, taking it and moving it from one part of the state to another. But, there isn't much more to find and move. Water has long been an issue between population centers and agriculture, a huge user. Farmers have water rights that date back decades. Thirsty suburbanites need water for basic household use and swimming pools. There are more suburbanites who go to ballot boxes than farmers.

Water is an issue globally, especially with climate change. It will be the subject of many more PR campaigns over the next century. It is a topic PR practitioners should learn about, especially if they live anywhere near the west coast of the US or in Europe where a drought is entering a second year. Changing habits about water use is hard but PR will be called upon repeatedly to help in the task.


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