2 April 2015
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an executive order that directs the State Water Resources Control Board (RCB) to impose a 25% reduction in the local water supply for 400 local agencies.
The effects 90% of Californians and promises more cutting back on water usage and monitoring for compliance.
The executive order implements water usage cut-backs onto homeowners, businesses, cemeteries and golf courses.
Watering lawns and gardens will also be severely restricted; as well as washing cars and even drinking or taking a shower.
Communities in California will “start looking a lot browner” and “communities also will be encouraged to reward homeowners for getting rid of water-gulping lawns.”
Brown told the press: “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.”
In order to ensure that water is routed to farms, this executive order does not apply to farms that outsource their water from neighboring areas. In fact, “the owners of large farms, who obtain their water from sources outside the local water agencies, will not fall under the 25 percent guideline.”
However, to maintain a semblance of monitoring, farmers will be required to produce detailed reports of their water usage to state regulators to avoid waste and water diversion.
Fines will be enforced while other punitive measures to assure compliance will be implemented if necessary. Residents are not the only ones to be under restrictive potential monetary responsibility.
Local water suppliers could be punished for not meeting reduction targets.
This executive order is reminiscent of the similar restrictions Brown called for 38 years ago. As a new governor, Brown asked for a voluntary 25% reduction in water use during a 2 year drought.
Local media is reporting that the dwindling snow pack in the state is insufficient to avert the drought conditions in California.
Frank Gehrke, chief of snow surveys for the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), said this year’s drought is “historically bad”.
This executive order comes on the heels of a scathing report by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) which stated that Brown “routinely approves high-pressure steam injections into oil wells that fracture rock formations, violating the law and increasing the risk of water pollution and deadly sinkhole accidents like a 2011 incident that killed a Kern County oil worker.”
In fact, just 3 weeks ago, California government regulators decided to halt hydraulic fracturing efforts that are within 500 feet of drinking water aquifers.
The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (CDOG) told oil corporations such as Chervon to stop all use of injection wells in Kern County.
The drought conditions, According to Victor Hansen, a historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University (SU), is caused by nature and man.
In Willits, California, the city council is concerned because record lows in the water table have been unprecedented.
The California Department of Public Health issued warnings to rural areas like Willits that the drought emergency is dire; while simultaneously cancelling water deliveries to ensure conservation.
The dire situation has become a political tool as Republicans and Democrats battle it out over proposed bills and Californian’s water supplies continue to dwindle.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (BRNRCS) has invested $14 million to fund “water districts and associated growers to conserve water and improve water management as part of an effort to ease their impact of the drought on California.”