Stories

Water Conservation as a Family

By Sonia Rodriguez | Jun 21 2014

SoniaRodriguez By: Sonia Rodriguez and Family, SA2020 Resolutions Leaders in Water Conservation (follow them here!)

Who we are:

Sonia Rodriguez (Mom); Jon Haynes (Dad); Joaquin Haynes (10 years-old, Fourth Grade); Sofia Haynes (4 years-old, Pre-School):

What we are doing:

As a family, we committed to be water-conservation leaders. Our plan to be leaders in this area has three components: Education, action and advocacy. What we have done in these three areas (so far) is:

Family

The family!

Education

We’re learning everything we can about the scarcity of water. The first thing we did as a family was watch Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk. It is a compelling documentary film that explores America’s drought and freshwater shortages. Visually, the movie is inspiring and it was easy for Joaquin and Sofia to follow. The film also explores the impact of river damming and human water supply needs. It was very sobering. The film is shot in IMAX (3D), so it was fun for the kiddos to watch and it kept the entire family engaged. Of course, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Robert Redford lent their support to the film, and their endorsement of water conservation efforts added to weight and importance of our family’s resolution.

We also took a trip to the Amistad National Recreation Area, in Val Verde County, Texas. We hiked to see the Pecos River confluence with the Rio Grande and we saw first-hand what drought looks like and why it is critical that we conserve water any way we can.

Amistad National Recreation Area

2014: This is dirt and grass at the confluence of the Pecos River and the Rio Grande, where water used to be.

The kiddos have visited the SAWS website for conservation tips and simple ways we can save water at home.

Joaquin has learned about the desperate water shortage in the city of Wichita Falls, Texas. Together we listened to an NPR report about how although city residents have cut their water use by more than a third, the City’s water supplies are still expected to run out in two years! In response to the crisis, the City has built a 13-mile pipeline that connects its wastewater plant directly to the City’s water purification plant. Some have called it: “Toilet to tap.” Gross? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Needless to say, Joaquin was fascinated.

thirstymoose

Big Moose is so thirsty that he drinks up all of the water in the river!

Sofia read The Thirsty Moose, by David Orme. It is an easy-to-read book based on a Native American folktale about respecting others (and conserving water). The story is about “Big Moose,” who is so thirsty that he drinks up all of the water in the river. As the water is depleted, various animals that live in the river become increasingly upset. The story reinforces the important principle of respecting others, conserving natural resources (and valuing water!).

Action

Jon has checked all of our home’s connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day. Sonia and Jon have committed to running only full loads in the dishwasher and the washing machine, to save water and energy. The family has reduced garbage disposal use by scraping dirty dishes into the trash instead of rinsing dishes before washing. Jon checks the outdoor watering system monthly to make sure there aren’t any leaks; and he has completely xeriscaped the backyard with drought-resistant plants, shrubs, rocks and mulch, so there is almost no watering required in the back yard any more. Jon installed a high efficiency showerhead in each shower; and the kiddos now alternate showers and baths, to save water. When we brush teeth and wash hands, we turn the water off until it is time to rinse.

As a family, we monitor our monthly water consumption and measure it against last year’s consumption (and also against our neighbors’ water usage).wateruse

We still have much left to do: we want to do more xeroscaping in the front yard. We need to develop a plan to reduce the water consumed by maintaining the pool during the summer. And we want to install a rain water collection system.

Advocacy

We have talked to friends and family about or resolution and encouraged others to conserve water.

As a family we have committed to each independently develop a plan to remind people in our neighborhoods, work and/or school about some of the simple ways they too can save water.

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Sonia Rodriguez

Sonia M. Rodriguez is a trial lawyer and partner in Branton | Hall | Rodriguez | Cruz, P.C. Sonia graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1999. In 2010, Sonia was appointed by Mayor Castro to serve as a Tri-Chair of SA2020, a city-wide dialogue that explored residents’ aspirations for the future of San Antonio. Currently, Sonia serves on the Board of Directors for SA2020. Sonia has served on many boards and commissions, as well as won numerous awards and recognitions, including induction in the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame. Sonia has been married to Jon M. Haynes for 15 years. They have two children: 8 year-old Joaquín and 3 year-old Sofia.

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