3 years ago1,000+ Views
@nicolejb had suggested a challenge where we all talk about which 2015 news story impacted us the most, and the first one that came to mind was the California drought. I think that a lot of Californians knew that it was coming, but most of us never really took it all too seriously. There were the people who would mind the water they used when washing their clothes, cars, etc., sure, but I definitely can't say that was all of us.
And then this year, the drought got extremely severe, and state and county legislation passed all sorts of laws that forced residents to reconsider the way we use our limited water resource.
Perhaps the most noticeable change in my neighborhood was our lawns. Starting early this summer, we were only allowed to water our lawns on specific days for a limited amount of time and ornamental fountains had to be turned off. Soon enough, even in more affluent neighborhoods, the lawns started getting more and more patches of yellow and dry grass.
A lot of my neighbors made the switch to artificial grass, switched the grass out with ornamental rock, or replaced parts of their lawn with cacti and other succulents that require less water to stay alive.
Both private residences and local businesses had to check for leaking pipes and faucets with the government strongly suggesting they get them repaired. If the City of San Diego, for example, somehow found out you have leaking pipes, hoses, etc., they could issue you a warning that gives you 72 hours to fix it before being issued a fine.
Restaurants began to only serve and refill guests' glasses of water upon request. And now, when you stay at a California hotel, there is usually a heavily advertised option to not have your bed linens and towels washed by housekeeping every day, so that more water can be conserved during your stay.
The government also educated residents about the concept of 'graywater' - untreated household wastewater from your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room that is collected then used to irrigate the plants around your home in lieu of using fresh water from your sprinkler system.
And my local community changed their water source to a much more abundant one by building a desalinization plant that treats water from the Pacific Ocean to make it suitable as tap water for the city.
I know that a lot of the community argues that the state relies too much on residents' efforts and completely steps around how much water the agricultural business tends to use. Also, many celebrities and rich residents have been under fire because they seem to not mind paying petty fines for the sake of keeping their property looking lush and green.
I truly hope that the effort that the state is putting into water conservation is enough to get the state out of its drought situation in the near future. Maybe they will be able to create a better balance so that it can feel more like EVERYONE is doing their part to save the water supply.
Anyway, that is my news story of the year! If any other Californians have their own story of how the drought has impacted the quality of life, feel free to comment below.
I think that's why it's so important to have people studying what you do! :D @Aubrey1990 I wouldn't have thought about having more plants (esp. native plants) as part of the solution. thank you so much for that insightful comment!
This Is an excellent article that really sums up the situation although I know in some areas the drought was so severe the ONLY water available was that which could be trucked in, granted I think that was only for a short time but imagine the extreme situation that those people were left with. Honestly water conservation should be an on going effort nationally if not globally, the problem though that areas with out shortages do not see it as a vanishing resource. I admit that even I have caught myself using excessively which to say the least is appalling. On a brighter note however it was interesting to see the implementation of the desalination plants for consumption. I know in the past this practice has been used for nonpotable purposes but to finally implement in a needed situation shows the desperation and creativity of the population. Another interesting point was the use of a variety of yard cover, ie the succulents and rocks etc. Plants that are native to the area are a great way to improve conditions not only for the serious water issue but also mentally given that the thriving plants could be a representation of hope and the idea that the problem can be over come. On a final note the fact that some felt entitled and decided not to abide by the law and would rather pay fines to avoid giving up frivolous things, fully aware of a situation boarding full blow crisis, makes me question the real purpose behind the laws to begin with. Truthfully the government's job is to, in a crisis situation, protect the interests of the people. While they were doing small steps like the fines, I wonder if they could or should have tried to do more. It is an interesting concept to think that while the government is attempting to abide by certain restrictions and honestly can not remove free will of a person, where if anywhere can they say enough is enough you're leaving others at an unacceptable risk by doing this. This is actually one of the main issues with governmental law, where is the line in the sand between too much intervention or the restriction of certain freedoms and not enough and people are placed in potentially harmful situations.
Wow, I think you are exactly right @ButterflyBlu, I had no clue it was this bad. I mean I heard in the news about the drought all the time, but it's hard to understand without having or knowing how it has effected everyones personal lives. that's pretty dang incredible/awful. Hopefully these new changes in laws will help conserve! @CostaGermanican @VeronicaArtino @AkashBhojraj @Aubrey1990 do any of you have thoughts on this?
I'm really glad that you posted about this, Dani. I think many people who aren't in California don't grasp the actual severity of the drought that we're in out here. In all honesty, I didn't even realize how bad it was until this past summer. We live in a mountain community at the edge of the desert: basically where the desert and the Angeles National Forest meet. So we were a little fooled by the water levels. We see all of the snows build up during the winter, then melt into the reservoirs and rivers. We were shocked when the reservoirs were still so low this year. They had to shut down pools and parks, which is significant when you live in an area where it hits 100+ degrees every day in July and August. The orchards and agricultural areas in our valley couldn't get enough water, which in turn destroyed the crops. It cost our community millions of dollars. :( I don't think a lot of people realize how damaging a drought is to the state. I really do hope it gets better...
The water issue is so important. It's a different world out here! Thank you for your insight. A great card!
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