Monday, July 14, 2014

Water Conservation Taught the Hard Way

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Towns all over California are facing severe water shortages. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown told Californians about the need to conserve water, but hardly anyone listened to the plea. When words aren't enough, can large fines be the wake-up call that Californians need?

The Water Resources Control Board is proposing new regulations to curb water waste, with fines that reach up $500 per day. This is no small number, an amount that could even mean missing your rent or house payment for a month. Broken water sprinklers, excessive lawn-watering, irresponsible car-washing with a hose, and other outdoor uses like decorative fountains would be in the scope of these new regulations. The Control Board hopes to work with localities to monitor such usage. The government is hoping to avoid a drought similar to the one in 1976 and 1977. Statewide conservation measures helped cut down water consumption by about 20 percent. But can the same measures work nearly 30 years later in a state that has grown so exponentially in population?

"Having a dirty car and a brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community," says Felicia Marcus, the water board's chairwoman. This becomes one of the key questions to conservation efforts; how many small comforts would you be willing to give up to serve the greater community?

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