California’s Retreat on Water Conservation in Drought

Sacramento, California (AP) —Severe drought last summer, Governor of California Gavin Newsom called on approximately 40 million residents of the state to voluntarily reduce water usage by 15% this year. bottom. New data released on Tuesday show that few people are doing it.

Californians have reduced water usage by just 3.9% in September from 5.1% in August. Overall, California has reduced water consumption by only 3.6% since July, as requested by Newsom.

“Sure, it’s not the news we want to see,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Management Commission.

The great drought caused by climate change envelops much of the west.When California traditionally heads for the rainiest time of the year, 80% of the states Classified as extreme drought or exceptional drought, Two worst categories.

State officials hoped that California’s conservation would continue to improve each month as more people learned about the drought and the Water Department promoted their conservation efforts. Instead, the data show that none of the state’s “hydrological” regions meet the 15% threshold, and that the Central Valley region, which accounts for 10% of the state’s population, is in September more than a year ago. I showed that I actually used a lot of water.

The Water Department says California actually reduced its consumption due to changes made during the previous drought. In other words, it’s difficult to cut more than it is now.

In Los Angeles, customer water demand has declined by 30% since 2007. Also, during the drought that ended in 2017, customer demand fell by 20%. This decrease was largely maintained after the drought ended.

For example, the Los Angeles Aqueduct has imposed mandatory irrigation restrictions since 2009, encouraging customers to replace lawn with lawn. Authorities are hiring more people to enforce water use regulations and are stepping up patrols looking for leaks and violations.

Beyond these efforts, “given that most of the immediate savings potential has already been achieved in our service area,” it will take a lot of time and money to see the actual savings. ” Said Terence McCarthy, Department’s Water Resources Policy Manager.

The biggest water savings in September occurred in two less populated areas of northern California, with conservation increased by more than 12.4%. The San Francisco Bay Area has reduced water usage by 7.6%, while the South Coast, including Los Angeles and San Diego, has reduced by 4.2%, accounting for more than half of the state’s population.

California’s latest “Water Year,” which runs from October 1st to September 30th, was the second driest on record in terms of precipitation across the state. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Environmental Information Center, California had the warmest monthly average monthly temperatures for the entire state in October 2020 and June and July 2021.

The combination of very warm and dry weather makes it much more difficult for California to collect and store water from rain and snow each winter. Most of it evaporates or is absorbed by dry soil.

It blunts the effects of a large storm known as the “atmospheric river.” One such storm at the end of last month caused a record amount of rain in Northern California, including 5.44 inches of rain in Sacramento. This is the highest ever in the city over a 24-hour period.

Housing and most businesses make up a small percentage of the state’s water usage each year. Most water is used for agricultural and environmental purposes, such as habitat maintenance. Due to the drought, farmers have had their water supply from the government cut significantly this year.

After the storm last month increased the flow of major rivers and streams in the state, state regulators temporarily lifted the cuts on farmers and other large water users. Regulators may soon reinstate these restrictions on some areas of the Delta formed by the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.

Still, Nature Maintenance said nature maintenance is the state’s most powerful tool “in the long run, not just for drought, but for climate change.”

“We know we will continue to face deeper and longer droughts,” he said. “And now is the time to really continue to shift our usage in this state.”