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article imageCalifornia prepares to tackle 'water waste' if drought continues

By Karen Graham     Jan 1, 2017 in Environment
Sacramento - After going through five years of drought, California is preparing to crack down on water waste with a heavy hand, including stiffer fines and in some cases, public shaming of water conservation abusers.
Despite having a wet start to the fall in Northern California, the state is still under extreme drought conditions. And depending on rain and snowfall amounts this winter, the drought could continue. But with climate change now factored in, the state is preparing to set into motion long-term plans for water conservation, making it "a way of life."
Local channel 89.3KPCC reported a new proposal from five state resource agencies aims to re-define water conservation in the state by answering the question, "What’s the best way to get Californians to keep saving?"
In response to a new state law that went into effect today, local water agencies are required to draft plans that will penalize big residential water users, and in some cases, divulge their name in a move reminiscent of public shaming. The new plan would give each water agency a "budgeted" amount of water to use, based on a number of demographics.
According to the Washington Post, the water allowance would be based on factors such as population, economy, outdoor temperature, tree canopy and even the rate of water evaporation. Some agencies will be forced to purchase expensive technologies to detect leaks in the water delivery system and hire data analysts to record and report water use.
The proposal, called “Making Water Conservation a Way of Life,” is going to face extensive debate over the next three years before it becomes law. Farmers will have to account for every last drop of water pulled from depleted aquifers, and many wealthy residents with beautifully manicured green lawns will balk at not being allowed to run their sprinklers all day.
But water conservation is becoming a way of life in many regions of the world as climate change begins to impact on our water resources. Water agencies in California will now have to put limits on water consumption if drought conditions continue, something they have not been required to do in the past, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
It is the conservation limits and the state having a hand in enforcing water-use rules that have some people critical of the plan. “We just think the best way to handle (conservation) is at the local level,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. “I don’t want to see homes with acre lots and bluegrass and water rolling off into the street, but the notion that the state should step in and enforce water conservation … I don’t buy it.”
More about California, Water conservation, water waste, continuing drought, draft plans
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