A whole bunch of water news happened and will be happening this week as the State Water Resources Control Board up in Sacramento is chugging through its days-long meeting. In addition to adopting those water use reduction guidelines you've been reading about (as well as the possible $500-per-day fines for households and $10,000-per-day fines for water authorities), the board is also considering a new desalination amendment. What this post is about, though, is the March usage numbers that came out yesterday. Those numbers show one thing: We all really, really suck at saving water.
Quick reminder: Starting this summer, Governor Brown expects us to reduce our water usage by a total of 25 percent compared to usage in 2013 (large wasters may have to reduce up to 36 percent, frugal users as little as 8 percent).
How'd Orange County do in March? Well, of the OC's 31 different household-serving water authorities, 14 actually used MORE water per person compared to 2013. Seriously. More. An additional three authorities didn't change their habits at all. Of the districts that did manage to reduce their usage, 10 only managed to do so by single-digit percentages far below their actual goals. But hey: if you live in Fountain Valley, Newport Beach, or the areas serviced by Mesa Water or that South Coast Water District, you're doing a halfway decent job. Those four water authorities managed to reduce their usage by ten percent for more, with Fountain Valley actually overshooting their goal (keep it up!).
The rest of you better get on it. What happens if you don't? Well, those fines I mentioned earlier sound mighty painful, though most authorities will most likely try to shame you into reducing usage before charging you $500 per day fines. But if those authorities start getting hit by the state's $10,000 per day fines? That money has to come from somewhere.