Water conservation is becoming an important focus in communities all over the country, especially in my home state of California. Considering about 12 percent of the U.S. population lives in California and the state is responsible for producing over 50 percent of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts, water shortages are a big deal. What does this have to do with Scouting you may ask? Scout camps are an incredible way to not only reduce our water usage, but can be used to teach kids the strategies and reasons camps are integrating new conservation techniques and technologies. One BSA camp that is taking this issue seriously is Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California. Since 2008, the camp has implemented a variety of water conservation strategies, helping to reduce their water usage by over 50 percent in just three years’ time.
Water currently costs Emerald Bay four cents per gallon, and with an average of 35 gallons of fresh water used per person per day by more than 4,800 people who visit the camp during the summer, conserving water has become critical for business. After conducting research, the camp philosophically and financially justified investing capital in new hardware and water monitoring technology. Some examples of investments they made are: spring-loaded water fountains and sinks, showers with pull string faucets, low/high flush valves, water metering all over the camp, large-screen TV with live real-time water usage facts in the dining hall, and grey water diversion into planter boxes. Not only have they taken these measures to conserve water, but they use signage and education to teach campers the value and importance of water conservation. It goes back to the old saying, “buy a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.” #sustainability #greentodeepgreen #bsasustainability