OUR VIEWPOINT: Awakening: California’s water is running out | Opinion

Mandatory limits on water use will likely be imposed on California residents, businesses and farms in the near future. Be ready. You cannot change the weather, which deprived the state of its necessary rain and snowfall. But you can change your answer.

After examining the state’s incredibly low reservoirs, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently told reporters that a statewide limit on water use may be needed to avert a water crisis. supply caused by California’s historic drought, which continues to worsen.

On July 8, Newsom asked Californians to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 15%. But the water savings have not been realized and mandatory reductions will likely be needed. Newsom told reporters that conditions on October 1, the start of California’s water season, will determine the need.

Former Governor Jerry Brown imposed water cuts during the last drought of 2012-2016. Brown issued a statewide ordinance requiring communities to reduce their water use by 25% afterwards. failure of voluntary efforts.

The drought is back in force. California is now in its second consecutive year of its worst drought in nearly 50 years. Already, Newsom has said 88% of the state is in “extreme drought.” Soon, this declaration will include the entire state.

This year is California’s third driest year in more than 100 years of the state’s rainfall record. Last year was the ninth driest on record.

But it’s just not California. The entire West is experiencing drought made worse by high temperatures. This month, the federal government declared a first-ever shortage on the Colorado River and imposed water cuts next year for Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico, which are receiving supplies of Colorado River drinking and irrigation water.

The federal declaration came after Lake Mead, which stores river water behind the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, sank to only 35% of its full capacity. Upstream, Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the country, behind Lake Mead, is only 32% full. Straddling the Arizona-Utah border, Lake Powell holds water from the Colorado River behind the Glen Canyon Dam.

A day after the federal statement, the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which receives water from the Colorado River, declared a “water supply alert” and asked guests to voluntarily conserve.

“This is a wake-up call for what lies ahead,” said Deven Upadhyay, chief operating officer for the district that serves 19 million Californians. “We cannot overestimate the severity of this drought. “

This month, Lake Oroville in Butte County, California’s largest state reservoir, was only 23 percent full. This is the lowest level since 1969, when the dam was built. The operator of the reservoir’s hydroelectric power station has stopped generating electricity because there is not enough water to run the turbines.

Reservoirs statewide have incredibly low levels, including Shasta, Folsom, and San Luis Lakes, which are 29%, 23%, and 16 perfect, respectively.

In addition to the impact this has on rural households and community wells that rely on groundwater, towns and cities are struggling with shortages. The San Jose area is particularly affected and residents are urged to reduce their water use by 30 percent.

A statewide ordinance imposing water cuts will likely require limits on watering laws and reductions in water allowances for homes and businesses. Non-compliance could result in fines and higher water prices.

As water supplies continue to decline, competition between cities and rural communities, businesses and farms, environmentalists and landowners will intensify. The complex and age-old quarrel over water will rage. Public policies will crumble under the weight.

And Californians – people who just want to do simple things like turn on their taps to drink water and flush the toilet – will be left on the sidelines, frustrated, paying higher water bills.

But Californians have some control – at least over the personal impact this drought has on them. And that control is about taking steps to get the most out of the smallest amount of water. To preserve.

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