California Needs Your Help
|By National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
California is now in its fourth year of a historic drought and the dry conditions are seriously impacting California, the western United States and the nation. In an effort to address the drought and the poor showing of statewide water conservation in January, the California State Water Board met to renew the emergency urban water conservation regulations. These regulations include:
- A prohibition on watering your lawn during the 48 hours after a rain event.
- A restriction for restaurants to stop serving water unless requested.
- A requirement for water agencies to promptly notify customers of leaks.
How Bad is the Drought in California?
Now more than ever, California needs long-term sustainable and affordable solutions. The past three years have shown us record-breaking conditions such as:
By Richard Heim, NCDC\NOAA (U.S. Drought Monitor) [Public domain],
- 2012 - water reserves were at record-low levels
- 2013 - was the driest year ever recorded in California
- 2014 - was the hottest year on record
Now new data from NASA show that California only has one more year’s worth of water in its reservoir.
What Are Good Water Supply Solutions for Orange County?
While the extended emergency drought regulations help, permanent, deeper changes are needed as hotter, drier conditions are expected to be the new normal in California.
Orange County is fortunate to have an award winning Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) as part of its water supply solutions. This system takes highly treated wastewater through purification process to produce high-quality water that exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards. The GWRS currently provides Orange County with 70,000 acre-feet of water per year, which is more than the proposed Poseidon Desalination Plant and comes at only one-third of the cost.
We support desalination as a potential solution for the current state of drought, but only responsible desalination that considers the true monetary, environmental and ecological costs of a desalination plant. It’s important to first fully explore less expensive and proven options such as the existing GWRS and conservation.
How You Can Help Conserve Water
One way California residents can make a change that will make a huge difference is by transforming their high water use landscaping to drought-tolerant SmartScapes. Over sixty percent of residential water use is outside of the home, which is predominantly landscaping.
How We Can Help You Conserve Water
To help the community make this change, Coastkeeper is implementing a new SmartScape program that educates and assists community members in the transition of their own SmartScapes. We offer information on how to maintain your SmartScape and get rebates from the government for your water conservation efforts.
We also invite you and your family to check out beautiful examples of drought-tolerant California-friendly landscaping at the Coastkeeper Garden. We showcase plants from six Southern California native habitats as well as drought-tolerant plants to inspire your SmartScape. So, what are you waiting for, ditch that lawn and get that beautiful front yard you’ve always wanted.
A Better California
Finding ways to conserve water is essential for California’s future. There are many habits we can all change to improve our waters and use less of our reserves. From fixing leaks and shorter showers to going to recycled-water car washes and installing grey water systems, there are many alternatives that save water. Let’s work together, conserve today and ensure tomorrow.