California has found itself indecisive in regards to the drought the state is experiencing. With strict water conservation measures in place, many counties have found themselves overflowing with water. While residents have saved enough water to supply 6 million people for one year, 90% of the population is still living in drought conditions.
Difficulty is had when deciding how to proceed with water conservation. Some are asking to relax the restrictions because their reservoirs are over capacity. In fact, Placer County has enough water to supply its citizens likely through 2017 and certainly through the rest of this year.
Unfortunately, the rest of the state is not so lucky. Although incredible progress has been made toward water conservation, the drought is still present and likely not leaving any time soon. Mandatory conservation, which started in June 2015, saved 23.9% by February 2016. This is just shy of Governor Jerry Brown’s anticipated 25%. Still, the savings are enough to supply the residents of Tulane, Riverside and San Diego counties for one year. In other words, their enough to supply water to 15% of the state’s residents.
Residents everywhere appear mindful that the drought is set to continue and possibly worsen again. Whether water conservation policies need to be relaxed in some areas and tightened in others remains to be seen, but officials are certainly open to suggestions from everyone. Heather Cooley of Pacific Institute, a water policy think tank based in Oakland, warns that long-term sustainability should be the focus. Instead of trying to reap the benefits of too much water in some areas, the board and policymakers need to base their planning on the fact that we’re likely to have a continued drought. Cooley advises that California residents begin water conservation and efficiency a way off life – fully integrated into our structure and behavior.
With rain not in the near future, we certainly hope that residents become more open minded to sustainability. They have done an excellent job already, and although it seems like the time to start watering the lawn is now, we hope that they can hold off for greater conservation.