@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.