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Burro racers’ creativity inspires conservation ideas

We moved to Boulder City in 1969 when the population was a little over 5,000. The fire department was a group of volunteers and the local police department had two, maybe three patrol cars. Just beyond the city limits was an “end of speed zone” sign meaning just that and it was common practice to park your car either direction on the streets.

One of the annual events in Boulder City was a burro race from Government Park (Wilbur Square) to Central Park (Broadbent Park).

Burros can be stubborn and ornery as heck. Coaxing a burro from point A to point B without their cooperation can be a daunting task. They cuss, bite, buck, kick, sit, spit and do whatever it takes to make you look like an ass (pun intended). Two-person teams pushed, pulled, dragged and rode (raced) those burros in spectacular fashion at times. There were no real rules, just try not to get injured in the process. It was truly a fun event.

That was until a couple of local fellas entered the race one year with a plan to win and win they did. Everyone was amazed when Terry Jefferson and Vic Ferris picked their burro up, slung him over their shoulders and literally ran him down to Central Park making the whole thing seem a smidge more serious and a lot less silly. Their burro was not amused and managed to inflict some serious burro payback to both TJ and Vic.

Looking back, things in general seemed a bit more fun and a tad less serious if you will. Even though water conservation was not a part of our conversation back then, the storyline about the burro race seems relevant today.

We are in a severe drought. Believe it; our water resources are limited. If you think this whole area will never end up a ghost town, think again. We have taken steps to curtail some of our water usage although we can also be as stubborn as burros and/or just plain negligent. The latter is troubling.

Many of us have reverse-osmosis systems installed in our homes for obvious reasons. If you consider the number of homes using an RO system, multiply every gallon of purified water by 4.5 gallons of supposed wastewater that goes right down the drain. Do the math. There are alternatives that can provide plenty of great tasting drinking water without the waste.

Consider changing the way you use your RO system or eliminating it altogether. I removed my RO system from under the sink, mounted it on an old golf caddy and wheel it around our yard to whatever needs watering. I insert the RO water line into a 7-gallon container, run the other line (supposed wastewater) over to any plant/tree that needs water, attach the garden hose and let it water. It takes about 20 minutes per RO gallon. I simply wheel it back into storage after use.

If you’re watering your yard later in the evening or in the wee hours it’s imperative that you take the time to watch a full cycle. If needed, make adjustments to ensure your sprinklers are not watering the sidewalk or street and water isn’t running down the gutters from overwatering. I replaced 40 of the older style popup sprinkler heads with six upgraded rotating sprinkler heads. I get the same coverage using much less water with almost zero maintenance, although a plan to incorporate desert landscaping is at hand.

Our city workers do an outstanding job manicuring and maintaining our beautiful lush green parks. I don’t claim to be a hydrologist or professional groundskeeper/gardener. Following the water runoff from Wilbur Square to the storm drain on Gloria Lane when the sprinklers are running I question whether the appearance of overwatering as well as the “drive-thru” car wash from some of the sprinklers is a minimum requirement? Please advise, thank you.

We have been dumping our treated wastewater in the desert for a very long time. Recent news of a $1 million grant to upgrade our wastewater facility sounds great; unfortunately those funds hinge on congressional approval.

News flash — the funding may be available now through the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection based on eligibility for the “recovery or recycling of wastewater or tail water” (https://ndep.nv.gov/water/financing-infrastructure/grants/who-what-is-eligible).

Like the burro races, it’s been fun but it’s time to change our tactics if we plan to make it to the finish line.

The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.

Michael R. Nix is a former small business owner, mechanical designer and lifelong musician who designs and 3D prints custom lithographic lamp shades, gizmos and collectibles. He can be reached at mnix5477@gmail.com.

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