Californians know. Water Conservation. It’s For Life.
California is now drought-free for the first time in several years after two seasons of normal to heavy rain and snowfall. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center and the U.S. Drought Monitor, over 90% of the state is out of drought conditions.
Though the news is something to celebrate, scientists indicate that the state will face future droughts. “If we have a few more years of normal precipitation, then maybe our groundwater conditions will be in a much better shape to deal with another potential drought- which is sure to come,” Newsha Ajami, Stanford University’s director of Urban Water Policy.
The State’s most recent drought update publication predicts that California’s climate will continue to be warmer and drier, with more of our precipitation coming as rain rather than snow- further compounding our drought challenges.
And despite the increased precipitation of the past year, Governor Newsom and the State are urging Californians to continue their commitment to developing a water conscious lifestyle as opposed to a quick fix with their campaign “Water Conservation. IT’S FOR LIFE.”
Unique Challenges on the Central Coast
While most of California is partially or wholly dependent upon snowfall in the Sierras for their water supply, the Central Coast relies on local rainfall only. This means we must make do with whatever rainfall has seeped deep into the ground and stored in our underground aquifers, as well as what is flowing and stored in our local rivers, creeks or reservoir. Due to our heavy reliance on groundwater (and our wells that we pump from) it can take years of average rainfall to make up for past drought conditions.
In addition, weather patterns are changing. We can expect longer and drier droughts, coupled with more frequent and severe flooding. Warming temperatures are changing rain and snowfall patterns and rising sea levels are expected to have profound effects on our ability to manage water supplies now and in the future. As conditions become more challenging, expect that water will become more expensive to retrieve, treat, store and distribute. That’s why water use efficiency strategies will continue to be more and more important for you and your local water agency.
Being Water Efficient
Using water efficiently is a community priority- it is the cheapest, most reliable and quickest response we can have to drought conditions and/or water bill increases. Beyond water use efficiency, conservation (using less), conjunctive use, and recycled and purified water and are also being considered for long term water security.
Please continue to use water efficiently at home, such as fixing leaky toilets and making showers short. Also, see how you can do more with longer-term solutions, such as upgrading fixtures and appliances and reusing greywater from clothes washing machines.
Since landscaping accounts for about half (or more) of all residential water use, it is crucial to find ways to save water outdoors too. Lawns are shrinking or going away completely if they’re not being used for sports or play. Now is the time to convert thirsty lawns to drought-tolerant landscaping by using low-water plants and efficient irrigation. Most local water agencies offer rebates to help you pay for these upgrades.
Become a Water Hero
We hope you will use this website to find and practice ways to use water wisely, so that we can all ensure our long-term water supply. Take the pledge to save water, reach out to your water provider for rebates, and spread the word to your friends and neighbors. The best water conservation ambassador is you!
Below are some additional resources to learn more about water supply conditions across California and additional water use efficiency resources that can help.
Thank you for your interest in our shared water supply!
Save Our Water Campaign
Save our House Conservation Home Tour
Pacific Institute Home Water and Energy Calculator
The Santa Cruz County Water Conservation Coalition
Central Coast Greywater Alliance
Monterey Bay Friendly Landscaping Program