By Amanda Hill

I’ve been thinking a lot about water lately. If you live in Texas, no doubt you have heard talks of how important water is and how little our state has right now. But, unless it has affected your day-to-day life, you may not have given water a second thought.

The trouble is water is going to be a big issue for all of us Texans pretty soon.

Today, Texas farmers and ranchers are struggling to water their crops and animals because of serious drought conditions over the past few years. I’ve talked with several men and women who plant their crops and have no idea if enough rain will fall to actually grow anything. Their businesses—and our food—depend on it.

That’s a scary thought, but it’s also scary when you start to think of the widespread effects of drought on our metropolitan areas.

Cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio (and several other towns in between) are growing very quickly. We all need clean water for drinking, showers, food preparation and other important tasks—not to mention more frivolous uses like watering lawns and filling swimming pools.

Our state’s reservoir levels are getting dangerously low, and several different interest groups are looking for ways to preserve this precious resource. But as Texas’ population continues to grow, our water problem likely will get worse.

So, how can we make sure there’s enough water to go around? The most immediate solution is conservation. No matter where you live, there are simple things you can do today to make a difference.

Farmers have taken some serious steps in water conservation—including no-till farming and advanced irrigation techniques—to be sure every drop is used wisely.

We all can turn off the faucets when not in use, take shorter showers and cut back on watering our lawns—even if there aren’t mandatory watering restrictions. (The Texas Water Smart website is a good resource for other conservation ideas.)

Whether you live on a ranch in West Texas or in a suburb of Houston, we’re all in this together. I’m pledging to look for ways to cut back on my own water use. Will you join me?