Water mandates signal 'get tough' approach

The state Water Resources Control Board on July 15 took steps to enable local water agencies to move beyond voluntary compliance with water conservation guidelines for residents of "urban settings."

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Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Those of us who have put in drippers after the 1987 water shortage, have been saving water for years. To effect a blanket 20% reduction is tough, because we do not waste water and the only alternative would be to do less laundry and let the garden die. This has been mentioned before in many media columns, but bureaucrats prefer to do things the simple way.

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

What's really water-intensive? Lawns. California is among the five states with the largest number of golf courses; California has 928 (National Golf Federation source).

Web Link

This website states that 62% use is agricultural, 14% urban and 33% environmental. What the site doesn't do within the urban is break out the residential from commercial/industrial.

Web Link

This website identifies 46% environmental, 43% agricultural and "homes and businesses" use at 11%

What this suggests is that there are conflicting "facts" about water consumption, especially residential water consumption, but in any case -- and here's the central issue -- residential use is a fraction of the total water consumption in California.

Nonetheless, the state public policy appears to persistently hit on individual users who should stop gardening, as commenter "Gunste" suggests, put bricks in our toilet tanks and exchange shower heads for drip use, etc.. I'm just guessing that if all 48 million of us stopped using water entirely, it would make very little difference to California's water shortage. Something's wrong here.

I would like to read far more about how California's agricultural industry has or is converting to drip use, emulating countries like Israel which lives with perennial water shortages, and agriculture has become enormously skilled at conservation. What is California agriculture's water reduction plan? What are the acre-foot costs for agriculture and what are they for the rest of us?

See: Web Link

My point? Let's spread the conservation burden around more fairly. Just who are the biggest water wasters? Have you driven around the central valley to watch those large wheeled water systems spray water into the sunshine? What's wrong with this picture?

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