Joshua Tree, CA—How do you communicate to 3 million tourists annually visiting the Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) that you don’t waste water—especially in the desert? This was the dilemma that four water providers in the surrounding areas of JTNP were faced with.
Joshua Basin Water District (Joshua Tree), Hi-Desert Water District (Yucca Valley/Yucca Mesa), Bighorn- Desert View Water Agency (Landers/Flamingo Heights), Twentynine Palms Water District (29 Palms/Desert Heights/Cooper Areas) serve water needs to most all locals and nearby communities adjacent to the park. They also provide tap water to all the area’s short term rentals (aka: vacation rentals) as well. In response to their need, these water providers were awarded a grant from the Mojave Water Agency (MWA) to help them and promote a unified message You don’t know its true worth… until it’s gone. SAVE WATER WATER PROVIDERS JOIN FORCES TO COMMUNICATE regarding water conservation in the desert during this unprecedented drought. The Grant funds are totally dedicated to advertising costs with numerous media venues being tasked to communicate.
Kathleen Radnich, a 44-year resident and a Public Information and Outreach Consultant for JBWD, routinely interacts on weekends with the influx of visitors from all over the world. However, since COVID, the guests are mostly from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Orange County/San Diego areas. Regardless of their home of origin, water is always a big topic.
“These people know they are coming to an arid region. They come here for the wildlife, the abundant starry night skies, for the openness and peace found amongst the rugged terrain,” reflected Radnich. “Surface water is not readily visible, so it is understandable they would wonder about our precious natural resource”.
It is the hope of all partnering water providers that visitors, who hear the water saving messages, will help protect our finite water resources by following some basic conservation practices like: turning off evaporative coolers if not present in their vacation rental, taking short showers, reusing linens if visiting for a few days, requesting water service at restaurants only if needed, and not allowing garden hoses to run.
The local water providers’ fall season water conservation message holds for both locals and area guests, as well, in that that: “You don’t know its true worth…until it’s gone—SAVE WATER!”