California’s Drought, Our Shared Responsibility

Thanks to new water usage regulations in California, the state saved nearly 388 billion gallons of water between June 2015 and February 2016. That is enough water to supply nearly six million residents for a year.

Although increased rain and snow levels helped to ease the water crises in California, it wasn’t enough to draw the state out its fifth year of drought. Which is why those temporary water usage regulations in California will likely be made permanent this year.

The California water regulations include limits on everything from sidewalk cleaning and car washing to lawn watering. And cities and municipalities are also required to regularly report on water use, conservation, and enforcement.

Residential communities, including homeowners associations and community service organizations, take note: Fines to the tune of $500 per day, not including civil and criminal charges, have been imposed and will likely continue with the new laws. So the play sprinklers for little ones may be off for quite some time.

Water conservation extends both indoors and out. The EPA recently found that 70% of water waste at residential properties is lost indoors, but there are many fixes that can help reduce waste. Options for builders include, having updated irrigation systems (drip or micro irrigation with moisture triggered controls), installing Energy Star certified appliances, and creating landscape areas that reduce impervious surfaces. As for residents, taking actions such as fixing running toilets, replacing the washers of leaky faucets, and reducing shower water pressure can all contribute to water waste reduction.

Water scarcity is hitting California the hardest, but the entire country is feeling the effects as prices for water, energy, and other goods increase. We all have a role in reducing water waste and builders, property owners, and managers can take simple steps and have a large impact.