by Jim Grawe
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
8:47 PM CST, January 14, 2013
"I see water as a gift," Rita Robl says. "It's a gift that's been given to us by God."
To overuse, is to abuse that gift according Robl and Joann Stuever. When they're not busy with their official duties as Catholic nuns, these women are running the Great Plains Earth Institute.
They say Kansas is drying up, and that means we all need to make some changes.
"The midwestern part of the United States could be part of a new low rainfall or desert environment," Stuever says.
The women say there's no telling whether this is a permanent climate shift.
"This could be a two-year, three-year dought and be over," Stuever says. "But, maybe not."
One of the most visual examples of the dought in Wichita is the Arkansas River. It's been reduced to almost a trickle, and you can practically walk across it without getting wet.
But local wells are drying up as well. As the city of Wichita makes plans for water restrictions in coming months, every drop saved now is an extra drop for the future.
"There are a lot of people, so that makes a difference when it adds up," Dave Gaddie says.
Gaddie recently moved to Kansas from California where he says water restrictions are a way of life.
"Everybody just conserved a little bit and it made a big difference," Gaddie adds.
While watering lawns isn't an issue this time of year, the sisters say common sense steps like taking shorter showers are important now, to reduce the sacrifice that may be required later.
"It's probably going to be difficult to change old habits," Stuever says. "But I think if people see a need they will respond positively.
Click here to find out more about conserving water in your home.
Click here to learn more about the Great Plains Earth Institute.
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