REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The Golden State is coming up dangerously short of water.
Drought in the state has gotten so bad that Gov. Jerry Brown has, for the first time in California’s history, imposed mandatory water restrictions. Brown declared, “I am initiating an executive order mandating substantial water reduction across our state. As Californians we have to pull together and save water in every way we can.”
Brown and other California officials were conducting a survey Wednesday in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and they found very little snow at the site. Now, it’s just a six percent of its historical average for late March. That’s the lowest level since record-keeping began in the 1960s.
Winter snowfall provides about a third of California’s water. Less snow means less water in reservoirs during summer and fall. And drought in the state has been going on for four years. In fact, experts said more than 98 percent of California is now running out of water.
Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA said, “California has about one year of water left in it’s in it’s reservoirs on the surface.”
Brown’s executive order directs officials to reduce water consumption across the state by twenty-five percent. Four hundred of California’s local water agencies now have to come up with plans to monitor and cut water usage. If they fail to meet targets, they could get fined up to $10,000 a day.
Brown’s order directs water agencies to consider raising rates to encourage people to save water. The California Energy Commission is also tasked to reward residents who buy water-saving toilets and other appliances through rebates.
Brown’s order also calls for the replacement of up to 50 million square feet of water-guzzling lawns. Any irrigation with potable water on new homes that does not involve drip systems or microspray is not allowed.
Gov. Jerry Brown insisted that this historic drought demands unprecedented action and calls on all Californians to do their part, not just to deal with this problem today but to help tomorrow’s generation.
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