Last week Gov. Jerry Brown imposed mandatory water restrictions for the first time on residents, businesses and farms, ordering cities and towns in the drought-ravaged state to reduce usage by 25%. This mandate is critically significant because as it requires water use reductions where as before the government laws were more guidelines to encourage but not mandate water use reduction. The legislation comes on the heels of this historic drought which demands unprecedented action. The action comes as the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which Californians rely on heavily during the summer for their water needs, is near a record low.
A new way of managing a precious resource
Brown’s executive order will:
• Impose significant cuts in water use on campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes.
• Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with “drought-tolerant landscaping.”
• Create a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with water efficient models.
• Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used.
• Ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
• Require agricultural water users to report more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state’s ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste.
It’s a different world we live in now and we have to act differently in regards to managing our resources and conserve ring precious natural water and the cycles that regulate them.
A staggering 11 trillion gallons are needed for California to recover from the emergency.
The estimate is based on NASA satellite data analysis of how much water the state’s reserves lack. That’s more than 14,000 times the amount of water it would take to fill the Dallas Cowboys stadium, according to CNN calculations. It’s the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in about 170 days’ time. This water quantity goal will be a major undertaking but reaching this number is critical to California’s ability to sustain current human populations.