Why I Volunteer – Debby Herbert


By STW volunteer, Debby Herbert

As a California native and transplant to Tacoma, I have additional perspective on why our water protection petitions are so important, and is why I am working with this petition campaign, and feel so dedicated to this cause. California is almost always in some state of water conservation and/or drought status, so I have lived in a water scarce environment for a good part of my life. Voluntary and mandatory water cutbacks, I assure you, is not a place we ever want to be and is a primary reason I moved away from California and came to the Northwest. On my four day exploratory trip to the area it rained non-stop for four days, and I said to myself on my return trip home, “I’ll take it…there is water!”

What I remember the most in my four decades in drought-stricken California, and found so untenable, is the constant stress and guilt associated with using water for everyday activities that we all consider to be normal. Before 2014, water rationing was done at the city and district level. But in 2014 the State of California went beyond the voluntary water reduction of 20%, and began enforcement of 25% mandatory water cutbacks in every city in the state. Forget about a green lawn and that lush garden, or having a clean car. The constant denying myself of water, down to the cup…restaurants only served you water if you asked for it. Brown lawns were the norm, no gardens, reduced use of washer/dryer, dishwasher, car washing, washing the dog, that long relaxing shower, the list is long.

Our fresh water is a finite natural resource that we have to protect, as it will continue to be a target by mega-mega water users. We have seen with the methanol refinery, how quickly a handful of elected officials will “sell” a major portion of our water out to the highest bidder, with no regard for how that will impact the citizens. And, at the same time, asking us to reduce water usage by 10%. We can’t let that happen again. It is our water and we are in an age of droughts. The decision to allow any mega-mega water users must be in our hands, the citizens. Please support the water petitions!


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