The will to conserve

Each of us must do our part to ensure we make it through this dry spell

We’ve said this before, but with the news this week from a NASA water scientist that California has only a year’s worth of water in its reservoirs, it’s time to get serious about conservation. In fact, it’s long past time.

That revelation and the fact that the state’s water supplies have been shrinking for more than a decade, based on NASA satellite monitoring, underscore the importance of new efforts to force Californians to cut back on usage. On Tuesday (March 17), the State Water Resources Control Board called for additional rationing measures to attempt to mitigate the shortages resulting from this fourth consecutive year of drought.

Many urban and suburban regions of the state have not met Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought emergency mandate calling for a 20 percent reduction in usage. In fact, statewide, usage went up 1 percent last year. As a result of that failure and the continued lack of precipitation, the board moved to adopt new rules that include: banning eating and drinking establishments from serving water unless it is asked for; requiring motels and hotels to inform guests that they may pass on having linens and towels washed daily; and prohibiting residents from using drinking water on landscaping until at least 48 hours after rainfall.

Here in the North State, where water has historically been plentiful, we have met or exceeded the governor’s mandate. However, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. We must do more to reduce the impacts on the source of our local drinking supply—the Tuscan aquifer. Whether a user of municipal or well water, our communities are reliant on this increasingly depleted aquifer. Making it through what could be many more years of drought will take concerted efforts from everyone to find the will to conserve.