July 2014
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Looking at a drought map of California is really scary.  Orange, red and deep red colors mark the severity in various regions.  Voluntary water use reduction by residential consumers is not having much success.   According to a survey by state water providers, Californians increased their water use by 1% in May.  This prompted the State Water Board to require water agencies to authorize fines up to $500.00 for water wasters.

Conflicts are arising: brown or green.  In Glendora, residents have been notified that they can be fined $500.00 for not keeping their lawns green.  These short-sighted actions ignore the realities of the current water crisis, especially for farmers and farm workers.

A major study released Tuesday by UC Davis,  warns of the “greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture.”  Statewide an estimated 428,ooo acres of irrigated cropland has gone out of production.  The cost to California’s economy is estimated at $2.2 billion with a corresponding loss of 17,100 jobs.

Groundwater pumping has also significantly increased.  California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary, Karen Ross stated, we are ready for a “very vigorous discussion” about ground water management.

I confess, it is difficult to watch my lawn turn brown even though it has been my plan since I moved here, to remove it and replace it with a water friendlier landscape.

I find the reflection of the drought in my weekly grocery bill shocking, and I am pretty confident that it is not going to improve any time soon.  I invite you to continue to do your best to conserve this most precious resource.

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