L.A. is conserving water at record levels, but it’s not enough as drought worsens.
The California water board has approved its state water reserves for the coming years, and conservation is back in full effect. But the state’s water agencies are struggling now to keep the pressure up.
The governor’s office has ordered conservation, but some cities and agencies are pulling back on their water restrictions. And, with three-quarters of the state’s population already suffering from the severe drought, the state’s agencies are trying to protect the water supply.
“It can be a game of whack-a-mole,” said Bill Lockyer, the governor’s secretary of the water board. “For every cut in the drought there’s another one added to the list.”
The state water board is the third-largest public agency in California. Its nine member boards include agriculture, community development, water supply, wildlife, and coastal regions.
After a long stretch of dry conditions, record-high rainfall brought the state back into full-force water use last summer. In January, the statewide water agencies held their regular monthly meeting to release their annual reports.
“We are getting better at the fact that we use water more efficiently and conservation is the way to go,” said John Deasy, the board’s general manager for water affairs.
But while water is being used more efficiently, it’s still not enough compared to the demand of the state’s two biggest industries, agriculture and urban water use.
“We are working hard, but the problem is huge,” Lockyer said.
He said that as dry as the state is, its water reservoirs are not as empty as they were before the drought of 2005 to 2008. California can’t afford to let up on conservation.
Water in California is stored, primarily, in underground aquifers and reservoirs. Some of the water found in these reservoirs is replenished by rainfall. But in dry years and years after drought,