Water Use By Californians Drops 31 Percent: Forced Or Voluntary, Does It Matter?

Californians restricted their water use significantly in the month of July. The residents managed to reduce water usage by 31 percent and surpassed government-set limits for the second month in a row, despite July being the month in which water usage typically peaks.

Residents of California have proven that they can indeed cut down their need for water when the occasion calls for it. Propelled by mandatory water-saving measures, an average Californian consumed 34.9 fewer gallons of water per day as compared to the same time last year when the drought had already begun, reported the New York Times. The restraint in water usage during this time period needs special mention because July is the most critical month of the year because water usage is at its highest, said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of California’s State Water Resources Control Board.

“Californians’ response to the severity of the drought this summer is now in high gear and shows that they get that we are in the drought of our lives. The news is quite good, and conservation is even better than last month, which is exactly what we need during the hot summer months. That’s when we use the most water, so that’s when we have the opportunity to save the most.”

How have Californians reduced their water usage so significantly? Apart from stricter rules that govern usage of water for landscaping, Californians have been redesigning their yards with vegetation that can survive with a lot less water. Interestingly, the state had ordered 50 million square feet of lawn (4.6 million square meters) to be replaced with water-efficient landscaping that includes cacti and other succulents, reported Yahoo.

Granted many of the lawns, even in affluent regions like Beverly Hills, have a withered look, but, in the past, quite a lot of water was spent in watering these lawns. Now, water is being used very sparingly on people’s lawns. Additionally, the residents have been asked to use water-saving hoses, and the state asked campuses, golf courses, and cemeteries to bring down their water consumption so the state can conserve as much water as possible. Moreover, these facilities have been using recycled water to help with the conservation.

While it is commendable to see such a significant reduction in water usage, many water conservationists have been complaining about the rampant misuse of water by those who can afford to pay the high fees. Although the regions where affluent residents reside have posted some acceptable numbers, one must wonder if the Californians who can afford high water charges actually curtailed their water usage?

[Image Credit | Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images]