The citizens of California will not take the drought seriously until they see that their government is taking the drought seriously. Until government at all levels – from the state to the smallest township – shows Californians that it is enacting measures to immediately deal with the drought – now in its 4th year – people in this state won’t face up to the drought themselves.
And until government enacts these 5 measures – at a minimum – , government is not taking the drought seriously:
1. Ban All Fracking
California must ban all fracking immediately – the process by which oil companies use to extract oil. As Adam Scow, California Campaign Director of of Food and Water Watch, states: “Fracking is a triple threat to California’s water. Not only does it exacerbate the climate crisis, it requires mixing vast amounts of water with harmful chemicals, and it puts our vital aquifers at risk of contamination for generations.” Big Oil uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day in California for fracking, acidizing, and steam injections. Estimates for 2014 include only 70 million gallons of water was used fracking in California to more than 700 million gallons. Scow has also called for a moratorium on fracking.
2. Moratorium on Housing Construction
How can Californians reasonably think that our region can sustain the thousands of residents that current housing construction projects are preparing for? Just in Mission Valley in the heart of San Diego, developers are planning enough condos, apartments and townhouses for 15,000 to 20,000 new residents – to double or triple Mission Valley’s current population. How can San Diego handle these new thousands when there’s not enough water for its current residents? We must have a moratorium on all housing construction.
3. Restrict Water-Intensive Crops
Agriculture accounts for 80% of California’s water usage. Large amounts of water by agribusiness are being used by water-intensive crops, such as almonds and rice. California’s almond orchards use about 3.5 million acre feet of water, nearly 9 percent of the state’s agricultural water supply, enough to supply the domestic needs of the Los Angeles Basin and metropolitan San Diego combined – about 75% of the state’s population, according to Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network. Almond growers are expanding because they have a lucrative overseas market. If government in the Mid-West can pay farmers not to plant certain crops, then government in California can figure out methods to restrict those crops that use too much water in the desert where we live.
4. No More Green Fields.
California can no longer sustain the green fields of golf courses, cemeteries, playing fields, and landscaping. Governor Brown warning individual home-owners that they can no longer have their little green yards, but we can no longer have these huge fields of green grass kept fresh by our drinking water. Some places do use reclaimed water. But most do not. Until we no longer see sprinklers watering the green fields with clean water, we won’t take the drought seriously.
5. Capture Rain Water.
Every level of government and every household which can need to do much more to capture rain water – when it does rain. Currently, nothing is done to collect the water that drains from the heavens – except the little that is collected over the reservoirs. There are some individuals who do collect it, but much, much more can be done. And until we as a society and as individuals do more to recapture this precious resource, we won’t be taking the drought seriously.