Can’t say we didn’t see this coming. With the current state of the drought it was a matter of when and not if. Therefore, when Governor Brown announced the mandatory statewide water restrictions last week, we weren’t surprised to see it hit the media in full force.
In an aggressive push to reduce water usage statewide, California regulators are proposing that the biggest urban water users cut consumption by as much as 35% over the next year. California’s cities consume 178 gallons per person per day, on average. That’s 40 percent more than the per capita water consumption in New York City. Pretty crazy!
Brown’s mandatory statewide water restrictions is the first in California’s history. And the timing makes perfect sense. The state of California endures a fourth year of drought and with Groundwater levels in some areas have plunged, causing the ground to sink it shows the magnitude of the situation. Farmers have been cut off on irrigation deliveries, which has forced thousands of acres of inactive cropland. Some small communities have ran out of water, and while reservoir levels are higher than last year, the mountain snowpack, which provides about a third of the state’s water supply in normal years, is at a record low.
With the mandatory cuts, water districts are offering rebates for home and business owners to retrofit appliances. This comes as an incentive since after Brown’s announcement, California Energy Commission approved standards for water efficient appliances. The standards require water appliances to consume less water thereby using less energy while performing the same function and it ranges from low flow toilets, waterfree urinals to kitchen and lavatory faucets.
The drought has never been so evident as it is today. It is all around and affects every aspect of our daily lives. But the challenges faced bring to surface discussions and changes that are long overdue. We can blame it on climate change, misuse of water supplies, or all the above. But one thing is clear, it is not going away and we have to alter our relationship with water.