People in California and the Southwest are getting stingier with water, a story that’s told by the acre-foot. In the latest Western Water news, writer Gary Pitzer takes a look at how a long-time rule of thumb describing water use—that one acre-foot of water could supply two urban households for a year —is getting a rewrite as household habits and improved technology help people make the most of the water they have.
Water saving in urban California continued to slide in August, but Butte County agencies generally conserved twice as much water as the rest of the state. The State Water Resources Control Board reported Tuesday that statewide, water use was down 12.6 percent in August, compared to August 2013.
Pasadena violated state water laws for three years by allowing new homes and commercial buildings to waste water, while failing to file conservation reports with the state resources agency. They also ignored a 25-year-old state law strengthened under the governor’s drought emergency of 2015 that ordered stringent reductions in landscape watering, according to a settlement agreement signed last month.
To [Brandon] Alexander, Angus and other robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture that aims to raise lettuce, basil and other produce in metropolitan areas while conserving water and sidestepping the high costs of human labor.
With California in a severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board ruled last week that some cases of water waste could be treated as criminal infractions. … The Sacramento Bee asked Sacramento utilities director Dave Brent how the city was dealing with the state’s latest ruling.
In a little-noticed provision of the regulations adopted Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board declared that public agencies – in addition to individuals and businesses – can be prosecuted for a criminal infraction and fined $500 per day for certain categories of water waste.
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
The recent mandatory water restrictions put in place by the state were the topic of an interview on July 16 by Judy Woodruff during the PBS News Hour of Timothy Quinn, ACWA Executive Director, and Craig Miller of KQED. Much of the focus of the interview was on just how serious the drought is and why the regulations are necessary right now.
From the PPIC Viewpoints blog, in a post by Caitrin Chappelle, Ellen Hanak and Jeffrey Mount:
The unprecedented restrictions on outdoor water use that the state enacted this week send a message that Californians need to conserve more water. But we can do more to move toward sustainable consumption.
On the same day the state approved mandatory outdoor watering restrictions with the threat of $500 fines, the Southern California couple received a letter from their city threatening a $500 penalty for not watering their brown lawn.
The state Water Resources Control Board released a survey this week that revealed that Californians actually have increased their water use amid the worst drought in decades — despite a spirited public-relations campaign about saving water.
Talk about mixed messages: While Gov. Jerry Brown is warning that California faces its worst drought since record-keeping began and regulators have approved fines of up to $500 for wasting water, some Southern California cities are continuing to issue warnings and citations to residents who let their lawns go brown.
The coastal region was cited along with the northeast corner of the state in a study released Tuesday as areas that saw significant increases in water use, even as Gov. Jerry Brown called for Californians to cut use by 20 percent.
California’s north-south water rivalry revved up Wednesday, a day after a state survey showed that while most of the drought-ravaged state modestly reduced its water consumption, coastal Southern California is headed in the wrong direction.
The State Water Board acted Tuesday to set minimum standards for water conservation, with the ability of local water providers to issue fines for blatant water use. But local water providers said residents are doing their part, overall.