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In August 2014, the California Legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), marking a fundamental shift in the management of water resources in California. For the first time, groundwater in the state will have to be managed to protect the long-term reliability of the resource. SGMA is thus an important step forward, but achieving the objective of sustainability will ultimately depend on the commitment and participation of a large number of actors throughout its implementation.
California’s rainy season is over. The map below shows the drought’s severity and explains why the Governor and State Water Board mandated a 25% cut in urban water use.
The Water Board created 8 conservation tiers, ranging from 8% to 36% cuts, with conservation goals based on each community’s average daily per capita water use. San Francisco, East Los Angeles and other cities currently using less than 50 gallons per day must cut 8% from their 2013 levels (to avoid penalizing 2014 conservation), while Beverly Hills and Hillsborough must cut 36%. Santa Cruz and some other places have already met their conservation goals, and need only continue their current efforts. Other cities still need to develop rules to reach their conservation targets.
Lawns are among Governor Brown’s targets, as a form of landscape that doesn’t belong in a dry state. The Board’s priority is outdoor water use, which accounts for half of the state’s residential water use.
Recently, more and more information has gone public that has exposed the oil and gas industry as a major threat to California's water supply. From illegal injection of oil and gas waste into drinking water, to dumping of toxic wastewater into unlined pits, to irrigation of crops with potentially contaminated oil byproducts, there has been no shortage of cause for alarm.
Manufacturing products with less toxic materials and promoting the development of "green chemistry" can not only protect our communities, workers, and ecosystems, but can actually save businesses money, increase efficiency, reduce liability, and give them a competitive advantage as other parts of the world regulate the use of toxic materials.
As California enters its third consecutive dry year, water conservation is a popular topic - television, newspapers, billboards, and radio messages are telling us to conserve water because of the drought.
Clean Water Action agrees that we should practice additional conservation during times of drought. But California's is a dry climate that is expected to become dryer still as the impacts of climate change intensify. This drought gives us an opportunity to rethink our attitudes about and our overall use of water.
The exploding use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer in post World War II agriculture generated an agricultural boom in California and throughout the US. Today seven of the top ten agricultural counties in the US are located in California and in 2010, California agriculture generated $37.5 billion in sales.