Despite multiple efforts to counteract California’s continuing drought, the state’s water resources are at near-crisis levels.
On April 1, 2015, the annual measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack was dismal: Governor Jerry Brown stood on bare ground where he would normally stand atop 5 – 6 feet of snowpack. In addition, most of the state’s snowpacks are remarkably low. California’s snowpacks are vital sources of water, absorbing it during the rainy season and releasing it in drier seasons. Consequently, absent or severely low snowpacks are grim indications of the state’s future water supply.
Attempts at voluntary conservation have fallen far short of their goals, so Governor Brown issued an executive order directing the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce consumption by 25% compared to 2013 levels by:
– working with local agencies
– monitoring consumption
– raising rates on “heavy” water users
– offering rebates for homeowners’ replacement of old dishwashers and washing machines with more efficient models
– establishing punitive measures and enforcing them, if necessary.
The drastic reduction would entail variable rates of consumption for homeowners, farmers, cemeteries, golf courses and communities, at times dependent on the success of prior voluntary compliance. It is believed that Californians will be forced to cut back on watering lawns, cleaning cars and taking showers, among other measures.
Driving home the point, Governor Brown stated, “People should realize we are in a new era. The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past.”
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