Jul 18 2014

Navigating the Water Wars during California’s Drought

Feature Stories | Published 18 Jul 2014, 9:56 am | Comments Off on Navigating the Water Wars during California’s Drought -

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California Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year called on the state’s residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent in light of the drought. Sadly, over the past three years, water usage has actually increased by 1%. In response, the California State Water Resources Control Board approved several emergency regulations.

Municipal water agencies are expected to ban residents, businesses, and public agencies from washing sidewalks and driveways with water, using landscape irrigation that causes runoff to the streets and gutters, washing vehicles using a hose without a shut-off nozzle, and using drinkable water in decorative fountains unless it recycles water.

Agencies are allowed, but not required, to fine offenders up to $500 per day and even charge them with a criminal penalty – similar to a traffic ticket. The agricultural industry and certain services provided by power washing companies are exempt from these regulations.

Other regulations are aimed at the water agencies themselves. Starting in October, agencies must report water use based on gallons per person per day. And if agencies fail to implement water conservation plans, such as regulating the number of days residents can water their lawns, the Water Resources Control Board can fine them up to $10 thousand per day.

GUESTS: Brian Richter, Chief Scientist of Water Markets for The Nature Conservancy, promoting sustainable water use and management with governments, corporations, and local communities, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability; Adam Scow is the California Campaigns Director at Food & Water Watch. He is responsible for developing strategy for local, state, and national campaigns. He currently serves on the planning committee for the annual California Water Policy Conference sponsored by Public Officials for Water and Environment Reform.

Visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org for more information.

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