Living in Southern California has many wonderful perks. We enjoy beautiful weather pretty much year-round, many of us can get to the beach in 30 minutes or less, and we get to live in some of the most coveted cities in the nation. However, Southern Californians have been suffering recently from a huge problem: drought.
Saving water is no accident and for many people it can be a challenge. On June 1, statewide mandated restrictions on water usage directed by Gov. Jerry Brown began to take effect. He is calling for improved policies and increased actions toward saving water, increased enforcement to prevent wasteful water usage, and investment in new technologies that will make California more drought-resilient. The executive order aims to reduce urban water waste by 25 percent.
Because the drought is so serious, all Californians need to take action to preserve water and reduce water waste. We took a look at some of the rules, regulations, and tips to make it easier for you to understand the law and save water more easily.
Why do we have drought restrictions?
- 2014 was the driest year on record for many parts of California.
- California is facing its fourth straight year of drought.
- Some parts of California received no rain in January 2015.
- Sierra snowpack is at near-historic lows.
- Climate change means higher temperatures, more rain, less snow, a projected 25 percent loss of snowpack by 2050, and early snow melt, which means less water in the summer.
What are some ways to save water?
Turn these simple actions into habits to make your home more water-efficient.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a houseplant instead.
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps retain more nutrients.
- Run the dishwasher only when full. Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.
- Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water houseplants.
- Turn off water when brushing teeth, shaving, and while you lather when washing your hands.
- Wash dark clothes in cold water to save water and energy; plus it will help your clothes retain their color.
- Water deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios.
- Plant drought-resistant trees and plants.
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool. Organic mulch also improves the soil and prevents weeds.
- Find even more water-saving tips here.
How do drought restrictions affect me?
- From using potable water (clean, pure, drinkable water) to wash sidewalks and driveways.
- From allowing runoff when irrigating with potable water.
- From using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars.
- From using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water.
- From irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall.
- From irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians.
- Fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 if you fail to comply after the first warning.
What else is this mandate going to accomplish?
- 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state are scheduled to be replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping.
- A temporary, statewide consumer rebate program will be directed to replace old appliances with more water- and energy-efficient models.
- Campuses, golf courses, cemeteries, etc. will be required to make significant cuts in water use.
- Increased enforcement to prevent water waste on local water agencies by implementing conservation pricing.
- Strengthen standards for agricultural water management plans among small and large agricultural water districts.
- Standards for toilets and faucets and outdoor landscaping in residential communities will be updated.
- Permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation, and enforcement actions by local water suppliers.
- Incentives promising new technology that will make California more water-efficient through a new program administered by the California Energy Commission.
- Find more information here.
Conserving water is no small task, which is why everyone needs to do their part. Be sure to share these tips and new restrictions with your friends and neighbors, as well as any tips of your own.
Want more water-saving tips? Check out our Pinterest board Get Water-Wise.
Sources and more information from Save Our Water and San Diego County Water Authority.
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