California Issues Executive Order for Water Use Reductions to Battle Historic Drought

Governor Jerry Brown has issued mandatory water use reductions that will affect all residents

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Defiance of the restrictions would result in ‘repercussions, including fines,’ promised the director of the California Department of Water Resources.

After months of pressure from conservationists and ongoing, “near-crisis” drought conditions — including warnings that there is only a single year’s supply of water in its reservoirs — California has imposed mandatory water use reductions for the first time ever, reports The New York Times.

The executive order, issued by Governor Jerry Brown, follows a series of drought-related efforts that many critics saw as being too lenient. In March, the state’s restaurants and bars were banned from serving water before a customer request, and last week, Brown announced additional funding toward emergency drought preparedness.

Finally, on Wednesday, Brown ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to impose a mandatory 25 percent reduction on the state’s 400 local water supply agencies, which serve 90 percent of residents, according to the Times. The individual agencies will be responsible for creating their own restrictions and for monitoring compliance. Defiance of the restrictions will result in “repercussions, including fines.”

The measure will affect, in varying degrees, everything from individual homes to farms, businesses, and public facilities.

Although officials have not indicated whether the cutbacks — which will impact even daily activities like showering — will cause the price of food to go up, it is certainly a possibility.

“People should realize we are in a new era,” Brown said at a news conference Wednesday. “The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past.”

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