California Drought Makes History: Mandatory Restrictions, Record Low Snowpack
"California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is ordering the state’s first mandatory water use restrictions in an effort to cut consumption by 25 percent," reports Timothy Cama. "Brown’s executive order, issued Wednesday, restricts watering grass lawns, cemeteries, golf courses and grass in street medians while implementing new pricing models at water utilities designed to discourage overuse."
An article by Chris Megerian, Matt Stevens, and Bettina Bexall drills down on what the new mandatory restrictions entail, as well as what they don't entail:
- "The order focused on urban life even though agriculture accounts for roughly three quarters of Californians' water usage. Cities have to stop watering the median strips that run down the middle of roads. The state will partner with local agencies to remove 50 million square feet of grass — the equivalent of about 1,150 football fields — and replace it with drought-tolerant landscaping."
- "State agencies will create a temporary rebate program to encourage homeowners to replace water-guzzling appliances with high-efficiency ones. Golf courses, campuses and cemeteries must cut their water use. New developments will have to install drip or microspray systems if they irrigate with drinking water. Water agencies will discourage water waste with higher rates and fees."
The trio's article provides a lot more detail about the implementation of the restrictions, which will be drafted into regulation by the State Water Resources Control Board during the month of April.
More drought coverage, especially the news leading up to the historic announcement:
- An in-depth exploration of current water levels around the state of California by Ben Chou for the NRDC's Switchboard blog.
- An article by Will Parrish detailing the impacts on salmon in Northern California along the Klamath and Trinity watersheds—home to Native American tribes that depend on healthy salmon populations in the river.
- Tony Barboza on the backtracking from earlier reports in the media that the state would run out of water in a year.