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California is facing a water crisis. Yet, California’s water usage is increasing. Advocates say that officials are focusing too much on the wrong things.
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California is facing a water crisis. Yet, California’s water usage is increasing. Advocates say that officials are focusing too much on the wrong things.


Newsom pleaded with residents to reduce their water consumption by 15%. Urban water usage rose 19% in March to March 2020, the year that the current drought began, despite the fact that urban water use was up 19%. It was the highest March water use since 2015. State Water Resources Control BoardThis was reported earlier in the week.
The problem is not that there isn’t a solution. Dringlichkeit of the crisisCalifornians aren’t getting the message across. Different authorities and jurisdictions have different messages about water conservation. People don’t understand what applies to them. They also don’t have a clear understanding of how much a 15% reduction would affect their own usage.
Kelsey Hinton, communications director of Community Water Center, a group advocating for affordable access to clean water, said that urban communities — which typically get water from the state’s reservoirs — don’t seem to understand the severity of the drought in the way that rural communities do, where water could literally stop flowing out of the tap the moment their groundwater reserves are depleted.

Hinton stated that people feel the seriousness of the drought every day in their work and that they need to be working towards real solutions to it. Living in Sacramento, however, you don’t feel the same urgency because we aren’t as dependent on groundwater or other scarce resources in the same manner that these communities.

But advocates claim that government officials are also misdirecting their attention to the wrong approach. They argue that voluntary residential water cuts are not the answer and that restrictions should be imposed on businesses and industries that use large amounts of the state’s water.

“Corporate water abuse has to be addressed or no other measures will matter,” said Jessica Gable, a spokesperson for Food & Water Watch.

Gable stated that California’s current perception is that drought is linked to climate change. “But there hasn’t been any effort to curtail the industries using the most water, coincidentally those that also emit the most carbon that are fueling climate change.”

Onus misplaced

The majority of March’s water usage spike was caused by water jurisdictions in Southern California. South Coast usage Hydrologic regionAccording to data from the state’s water board, the area that includes Los Angeles and San Diego County was 27% more than March 2020. Only the North Coast region saved water during March, which reduced 4.3% of its consumption.

Edward Ortiz, spokesperson of the State Water Resources Control Board said that March was a major setback for Governor Scott’s water goals.

Ortiz said that “this is a concerning development for our response to the drought in California as a state.” Californians can respond to these circumstances by making water conservation a way for life. It should be a habit to conserve water regardless of the weather.

He stated that Californians need to “double down on efforts to conserve water inside and out of their homes and businesses.”

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California released its last month’s announcement. Most severe water restrictionsFor residents and businesses in Los Angeles counties, with the goal of reducing water use by at minimum 35% Outdoor water usage will be restricted to one day per week beginning June 1.
Sprinklers water fields in Kern County.Sprinklers water fields in Kern County.

Residents are asked by community advocates if they wonder if big water users face the same pressures and painful decisions to conserve. For example, agriculture that uses large amounts of water (such almonds, avocados, tomatoes, etc.) or fracking where millions of gallons can be used to frack one fossil fuel oil well.

Gable said that, while every little bit counts, repeated pleas for people to save water can seem out of touch at best. Given that the industries that could dramatically cut the excessive water allocation to them are rarely held accountable, Gable said.

Amanda Starbuck, research director with Food & Water Watch, said cutting back on residential water use is like telling people recycling could save the planet. Although it is a significant action, it will not make a difference in the overall crisis.

Record high temperatures this weekend 'are difficult for our firefighters'Record high temperatures this weekend 'are difficult for our firefighters'

Starbuck stated to CNN that it is also demeaning to attribute residential use to these crises. It’s a small fraction of overall consumption. It’s a much greater problem, and we really have to start bringing in big industries that are guzzling hydration during times of drought.”

A spokesperson for Newsom’s office told CNN that local water agencies have set new targets since March that should lead to lower usage — including the outdoor watering restriction — and more decisions are coming in front of the state board this month.

“We are hopeful that these actions will significantly contribute towards the state’s overall Water Reduction Goals as outdoor watering has been one of the largest single users of water,” a spokesperson stated in a statement.

The spokesperson also highlighted additional funding for water resilience, which the governor announced Friday in his budget proposal. This funding is part the $47 billion that will be used to address the effects of the climate crisis in the state.

The spokesperson said that the additional funding will allow us to reach more Californians and inform them about the importance of conserving water, as well as provide support for local water districts in dealing with the drought emergency.

Other sources are not available

Hinton stated that rural communities are often anxious about the water supply.

Hinton said that “the bigger story, at most for us, is that when we’re in the middle of droughts like this, it doesn’t just stop outdoor water use for our family,” but also shorter showers. “Our families are concerned that their water will stop flowing all together.

US farmers under pressure and on the front lines of food inflation amid price spikesUS farmers under pressure and on the front lines of food inflation amid price spikes

These are communities that don’t rely on reservoirs — where much of the focus has been for reaching critically low levels — but instead use private groundwater wells.

The problem is that groundwater levels in the state can sink under extremely dry conditions. More groundwater is then used for agriculture and other purposes.

She said that the families she works with feel the urgency because they are familiar with what has happened in the past. “We have people whose wells have dried up since the last drought but they have not been financially able to get them repaired or connected to a long-term solution.”

Blistering Heat waves, worsening DroughtAnd destructive WildfiresIn recent years, the West has been plagued by these problems. Hinton believes that the state must prioritize the water needs for individuals over those of industry, as shown by these vivid images of climate crises.

Hinton said that climate change has made drought a permanent reality. “This is something that we as a state have to deal with.” “The more we accept this and are proactive, the less we will be reacting to situations such as whole communities becoming dry or urban areas having to reduce water consumption to this extent because we have already overused the water available to us.”


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