Drought-stricken California goes to war on water waste

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The new rules have been introduced despite heavy rain and record snowfall across the state in December, which offered some respite from a crippling drought.

In mid-December, 80 per cent of California was under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, though this was reduced to 30 per cent by the start of this year.

Governor Gavin Newsom last year called for every citizen to reduce their water usage by 15 per cent, but since July, the state’s water usage has only fallen by 6 per cent.

Despite the wet conditions in December, state climatologist Michael Anderson said forecasts show January, February and March could be drier than average.

The new rules will come into effect for one year and provide no exceptions for golf courses or other recreational facilities. Only where water use is necessary for public health and safety will exemptions be granted.

“Conserving water and reducing water waste are critical and necessary habits for everyone to adopt as we adjust to these uncertainties and we build resilience to climate change, so adopting emergency regulations now just makes sense,” said Eric Oppenheimer, the chief deputy director for the state water board. 

“We need to be prepared for continued drought.”

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