California passed two laws in June 2018 that aim to future-proof the state’s water supply, setting a consumption limit for the first time.
These laws have been in effect since January 2019 and have been legislated to create a resilience plan for future climate change and droughts.
California has had many drought-related issues over the past few years, and these historic laws have been passed in response to this.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
“A lot of us have taken water for granted, but it’s not something we can take for granted in Southern California,” Friedman said. “Climate change, drought — we need to make sure it doesn’t impact life and safety and the economic future of our state.”
Together, the two bills establish an indoor, per-person water use goal of 55 gallons per day until 2025. The limit decreases to 52.5 gallons until 2030 and 50 gallons beginning in 2030. It will be the responsibility of water agencies to work with users to meet the goals.”
The report notes that the laws mandate that the state create incentives for water suppliers to recycle water and require urban and agricultural water suppliers to set annual water budgets.
Resilience through legislation is monumental for the State of California, and many other states may need to look into something similar soon.
California has made a step in the right direction and does well to put these consumption limits in now before it’s too late. This move seems to be a very wise one.
As severe droughts in California have stretched into their third year towards 2022, it has pushed the state to adopt stricter restrictions on water.
The state ordered local suppliers to activate their local drought plans to prepare for up to a 20% shortage in water. Gov. Gavin Newsom warns that if the state does not make conservation progress, it could lead to more stringent state-wide water restrictions.
The Los Angeles Times reports, “Across the western U.S., scientists have found that the extreme dryness since 2000 has become the driest 22-year period in at least 1,200 years, a megadrought that research shows are being intensified by climate change. Scientists have described the trend as aridification, saying the West must prepare for heat-driven drying to continue as temperatures climb with the burning of fossil fuels and rising levels of greenhouse gases.”
Climate change is worsening these droughts and will have a widespread impact on every sector, starting with agriculture and food production.
The agriculture sector consumes 80% of the total water supply, and 20% goes to towns and cities. Reduced water deliveries have already resulted in 395,000 acres of cropland unplanted this year, and some farmers that suffered water supply cuts have turned to groundwater pumping, the article says.
Both residential and commercial water users need to reduce their water supplies and take practical steps to conserve water if the state wants to stretch water supplies for a more extended period.
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