This week, California’s State Water Resources Control Board approved an emergency reduction in urban water usage by 25 percent, previously outlined in April by Governor Jerry Brown.
The conservation rules are expected to be in place by the summer, and will affect different regions of California to varying degrees.
Some communities, like Beverly Hills, will need to reduce daily water consumption by as much as 36 percent, while others, like the city of Santa Cruz, will be only the hook for a comparatively minimal 8 percent reduction.
Thus far, the state is a long way from its goal, as California’s cumulative water reduction since last summer totals only 8.6 percent. In March, water usage was only 3.6 percent less than this time last year.
Among the methods the state will use to keep water conservation on track, Governor Brown has suggested a $10,000 fine for the biggest water wasters, commercial or residential.
“This is the starting gun,” Conner Everts, facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus, an advocacy group for sustainable water policy, told the LA Times. “Right now we're scared. Right now we're in the denial stage. We have to get into acceptance, and we have a relatively short period of time to do it.”