Catherine StewartCalifornian drought – more water consumption cuts needed drought

The California drought deepens, with state reservoirs holding only 1 year of water and the Sierra Nevada snow melt at 5% of normal levels. And despite calls by Governor Jerry Brown for Californians to reduce their water consumption, in southern areas in February it INCREASED!

The Governor has now signed into law a requirement for all towns and villages to reduce their water consumption by 25%. The Water Board of Southern California plans to triple the cost of water for anyone using more than their quota, signalling that a price hike may be the only way to get Californians to reduce their water consumption.

In Santa Fe and Coachella in the warmer southern parts of the state, water consumption in January (that’s MID WINTER) was around 238 gallons (900 litres) per day, compared to a state average of 73 gallons (276li). It seems that the message about changing people’s behaviour to conserve water, or maybe how to do that, is either not getting through or being ignored.

The Water Board said it would also pass regulations that stopped the use of drinking water on lawns areas on road median strips, and was looking at requiring new developments to have water conservation strategies, like water recycling.

As an Aussie, I have to say ‘Crikey!‘ And when are they going to get serious about this? I’m trying to imagine how Californians would react to Australian-level water restrictions when it becomes illegal to wash a car, hose a driveway, run an irrigation system, water a lawn, or even have a hose connected to an outside tap……

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

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