Almost all Californians will be asked to further reduce their water use as the drought continues in the country’s most populous state.
Sacramento, California – Californians will be asked to cut back on their water use, state officials said Monday, as they warned that water shortages could shape the future of a drought-stricken state.
But these cutbacks will come from cities and local water districts, not states. Members of Governor Gavin News’ administration say allowing local retailers to set conservation needs is the best approach in a state of about 40 million people where water demand varies.
Jared Blumenfeld, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, said: “We live in a state with many hydroelectric zones, different water use conditions, and one size fits all doesn’t really work in California.
Newsman, a Democrat, spoke to Bloomanfeld reporters after the executive order was issued, which outlines new measures aimed at reducing water use in the historically dry January to March heels. The governor previously called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 15% compared to 2020, but this is not an order and the total savings still sit at 6%.
Like much of the western United States, California is experiencing severe or extreme drought across much of its territory. Although it rained on both sides of the state on Monday, state officials have proposed an in-depth assessment of the state’s water picture.
“We have to bake everything we can to preserve this precious resource,” Bloomenfeld said.
Approximately 385 cities and other local water districts will have to submit drought response plans to the state with details of six levels of conservation action based on water scarcity. As less water is available, local water districts take more aggressive controls that establish how and when people can use water. These providers serve more than 36 million people or more than 90% of the state’s residents.
Newsom’s executive order instructed the state Water Resources Control Board that local suppliers should go to the second step of their conservation plan, which estimates a 20% water shortage. About 140 cities and retailers are already working at that level.
The limitations of the two levels vary depending on the needs of the local district, but are usually limited when people can use water for outdoor purposes or include incentives for people to install more efficient equipment or landscapes. In Sacramento, for example, water levels in public spaces such as parks and cemeteries are limited by two levels, ordering people to turn off freshwater features such as fountains and increasing patrols for water. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will limit outdoor water supply, deliver heavy water to users, and provide more discounts and incentives for water conservation.
“As important as conservation is for the preservation of our precious water supply, we must emphasize that conservation may not be our only response to the ‘boom and bust’ water cycle, which is intensifying with climate change,” said Jim Pfeiffer, a regional water authority in Sacramento. Agency representing 20 water suppliers in the area
He said the state needs to modernize its water system, including saving more supplies to groundwater banks.
Newsom’s executive order asked the state water board to consider a ban on watering grass that is used exclusively for decorative purposes, such as grass in highway median or office parking lots. Green spaces like baseball fields or parks will probably not be affected. A ban on watering such grasses could save more than half a million homes a year, according to the News Office.
The State Water Board has until May 25 to consider the steps outlined in the news
In addition to limiting outdoor water and calling for more conservation, the order sets out rules for permitting new wells to ensure that they do not overdraft the groundwater that people rely on for drinking. It also simplifies groundwater recharge projects and protects drought-prone fish and wildlife, including salmon. And he has instructed the state water board to increase inspections aimed at catching illegal water deviations.
In non-drought years, groundwater accounts for about one-third of the state’s water supply. But during the drought, when less water is available from mountain snowpacks and state reservoirs, the state turns into groundwater for about two-thirds of its supply, said Wade Croft, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency.