California unveils historic water restrictions over drought crisis
by Agence France-Presse, April 2nd, 2015
LOS ANGELES, United States – California announced sweeping statewide water restrictions for the first time in history Wednesday in order to combat the region’s devastating drought, the worst since records began.
… “This historic drought demands unprecedented action.”
The executive order issued by Brown would aim to achieve a 25 percent reduction in water usage across cities and towns throughout California by a combination of measures.
“As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible [except for the oil and gas industry],” Brown said.
… The measure orders campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large consumers of water to significantly cut use.
… “These are good and necessary. However, the devil is in the details,” said Timothy Krantz, professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands in California. “It is one thing to mandate water rationing/conservation in cities and requiring a 25% reduction, but how will the cities regulate that by their constituents?”
Frantz also noted Brown’s statement had made no mention of the water-intensive industry of enhanced oil production or “fracking.”
The drought has left swathes of California’s landscape unrecognizable, with normally brimming lakes and rivers now dry and losses to the state’s agricultural industry estimated at several billion dollars.
… California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said the state can expect virtually zero water from the snowpack as it melts in the coming weeks. “Water conservation must become a way of life [but not for frac’ers or enhanced oil recovery],” he said in a statement. [Emphasis added]
California Governor Issues 1st-Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Restrictions by NPR, April 1, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown instituted California’s first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions on Wednesday, as the state endures its fourth year of drought.
“This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” Brown said, mandating several new conservation measures:
- A reduction in water use by 25 percent for California cities and towns.
- New pricing structures by local water agencies to encourage conservation.
- Replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns throughout California with “drought tolerant landscaping.”
- Rebates for water-efficient appliances.
- New reporting guidelines for agricultural water users. [why not also the oil and gas industry?]
… The order will also require cemeteries, golf courses and other “large landscapes” to reduce water consumption; place new irrigation standards on new homes and developments; and incentivize new technologies to make the state more water-efficient.
… Brown’s office estimates that the 25 percent reduction mandate for California cities alone should save the state 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months.
Last year, Brown declared a drought state of emergency, and just a few days ago, he signed a $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill.
[Refer also to:
California now says 2,500 wells dumping frac waste into protected aquifers, up from 532 in February. Regulators order oil drillers including Chevron Corp. and Linn Energy LLC to halt operations at 12 injection wells (two were issued cease and desist orders) because they may taint groundwater suitable for drinking and irrigation