Even though the state of California has recently experienced heavy rains and snowfalls, regulators voted to extend the emergency water-saving measures due to the state’s ongoing drought.
The State Water Resources Control Board agreed to continue the emergency water conservation controls – which were first adopted in 2014 and were extended throughout last year. Current water regulations will continue until October.
Some of the measures recommended on Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board include: urban water suppliers based on climate and area, population growth in that region, investments made in new water supply sources, etc.
Even since 2014, California has been in a drought state of emergency. From 2012 to 2015, the state has experienced the driest years in its history, which is why state officials have adopted executive orders and resolutions with regard to water use during drought. They also adopted a proposal to reduce water usage by twenty-five percent throughout the state, by the end of February.
Compared with 2013, Californians have uses about twenty-five percent less water since last spring. They might meet their goal of saving approximately four hundred billion gallons of water (1.2 million acre-feet of water) during the month of February.
However, through the months of November and December, water-saving efforts fell short of the state’s twenty-five percent goal. In November, the conservation rates were 20.4 percent, and in December they dropped to 18.3 percent.
Drought conditions may be eased this spring, thanks to the precipitations brought to the West Coast this season by El Niño storms. Snow runoffs from the Sierra Nevada Mountains will also help refill the rivers, reservoirs, as well as other bodies of water throughout California. However, it is still unclear how much the snowpack will help alleviate the state’s drought.
Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said that although the growing snowpack and recent heavy rains are good news, the effects that these will have for California’s drought will only be known when spring comes.
Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, said that more snowfall and heavy rain is needed to maintain the water content for the future melt, in order to make a significant difference in the state’s drought.
Image Source: a.scpr.org