Water Usage Up in California Despite Drought
Update: April 26th, 2022: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California begins a program that will cut outdoor watering to one day a week in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties, affecting about six million people.
While it's wonderful California got some more rain recently, we still have drought conditions to face. For a second year in a row, Governor Newsom said more needs to be done in California, calling for cities and water agencies to now implement their second level water contingency plans to further reduce water usage and implement tougher rules. He stopped short of mandates statewide, in favor of letting local agencies figure out what is best for their areas. Restrictions would not affect agriculture either, but he did ask agencies to consider banning irrigation of lawns.
Californians did not conserve more water over the last two years, rather they used more. According to CalMatters.Org, "In January, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency regulations allowing water providers to bar certain wasteful water uses, such as hosing down sidewalks with drinking water.
But water use nevertheless ticked up statewide in January compared to January
2020. The biggest increase was 19% in the desert region that includes the Palm Springs area and the Imperial Valley. The South Lahontan region, spanning the Sierra Nevada, mountain communities of Southern California and Death Valley, had the second highest increase, at 9%. Residents of the Los Angeles basin and San Diego County used 1.8% more water, while those in most of the Central Valley used 6 to 7% more.
The only regions that slightly reduced water consumption were the San Francisco Bay Area, which used 1.4% less, and the southern San Joaquin Valley, which used 0.2% less. Overall, Californians from July of last year through January conserved about 6.5% statewide compared to 2020, according to state data — falling far short of Newsom’s requested 15%."
A letter to water right holders from the State Water Board states "Despite record-breaking storms in October and December 2021, most of California is experiencing a severe drought due to the driest January and February on record. These conditions are worsening quickly and can threaten water supplies, impair critical habitat, reduce recreational opportunities, and create uncertainty for all water users.
We are experiencing historic dry conditions: February is usually California’s wettest month, but January and February 2022 were the driest we’ve seen in recorded history. Statewide, precipitation is less than half the yearly average, and dry conditions are forecast to continue through spring."
While more might be added, these are the State Water Board Emergency Regulations Requirements that went into effect on Jan 18, 2022:
Turn off decorative water fountains
Turn off/pause your irrigation system when it's raining and for two days after rain
Use an automatic shutoff nozzle on your water hose
Use a broom, not water, to clean sidewalks and driveways
Give trees just what they need: avoid overwatering
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