Last updated on September 2nd, 2019
On the Right Path: How California Is Fighting Back Against Drought
Water has been an issue on forefront Californians’ minds in recent years. From 2011 to 2017, the state suffered the worst drought in its history. The water shortage was so pervasive that California remained in an official state of emergency for three years. Although rainfall has increased somewhat since then, many Californians are still taking steps to prepare for the next big drought. As a changing climate threatens access to natural resources for many across the globe, California’s water conservation efforts may serve as a valuable guide for others living in regions at risk for drought.
Promising New Solutions
If persistent droughts continue to plague California, the state could face a growing need for safe and renewable sources of drinking water. One local water company, Cadiz Inc., has made it their mission to address this need for those living in the Southern California region.
Every second, 330 gallons of fresh groundwater are lost from the Mojave Desert through hyper-salinization or evaporation. The Cadiz Water Project is a multifaceted plan to capture and utilize this groundwater before it evaporates or is lost to salt contamination. The project will use an aquifer system to capture groundwater and send it to the Colorado River Aqueduct via a 43-mile pipeline. Once it reaches the aqueduct, it can be distributed throughout the area. The system will also feature a storage area of approximately one million acre-feet that is designed to save excess water in case of future drought. Cadiz Inc.’s unique conservation project could effectively provide a sustainable source of fresh water for over 400,000 nearby residents per year and contribute nearly 6,000 new jobs to the local economy.
While the size of something like the Cadiz Water Project is encouraging, it is important not to forget that each individual also plays an important role in water conservation. Oftentimes, one of the best ways to make a big change is to start small.
In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown set an indoor water-use limit of 55 gallons per-person per-day beginning in 2022. Over time, this limit will decrease until 2030, when it reaches 50 gallons per day. The bill also mandates that limits for outdoor water use be determined based upon the current regional climate.
Tips to Cut Household Water Usage
- Use less water outdoors – Outdoor water accounts for a significant portion of the average Californian’s water use. There are several ways to lessen water consumption in your yard. Plant water-efficient plants, use artificial turf, or add mulch to preserve water and reduce evaporation.
- Be mindful of appliances – Ensure that appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher are completely full before running them. Similarly, try to use energy-efficient appliances, and be more conservative with your use of items that require washing such as clothing or dishes.
- Turn off the tap – Whether you are washing dishes, showering, or brushing your teeth, turning off running water can save gallons per minute.
- Fix leaks – Dripping faucets or leaking pipes can lead to substantial water loss, wasting up to 16 gallons of water each day. You can hire a plumber to fix leaks in your home, or make it into a DIY project.
With just a bit of extra consideration, cutting back on water use is relatively simple. Reducing water consumption also typically leads to a reduction in overall energy consumption, making it good for the environment and your budget.
Between the development of large-scale endeavors like the Cadiz Water Project and the impact of millions of individuals lowering their daily water use, California appears to be making progress toward water conservation. While the change is inspiring, the work is far from over. California and other drought-prone regions across the country must engage in continuous efforts to protect one of life’s most crucial resources.
What water saving tips do you have?