The governor's pronouncement follows the driest spring on record and two years of below-normal precipitation. Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, the backbone of the state's water supply, stands at two-thirds of normal; dusty banks line many important reservoirs; and environmental rulings have slashed water pumped from the crucial Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta - all while California's booming population threatens to overwhelm some of the state's key infrastructure.
Some water districts, including the East Bay Municipal Utility District, already have imposed rationing and threatened to fine or reduce water supply to customers who violate the restrictions. Most of the remaining Bay Area water districts have asked for voluntary cutbacks on the order of 10 to 20 percent.
But as the dusty days of summer approach, more districts are likely to make restrictions mandatory. The picture looks increasingly grim if the next winter brings scant rain and snow.
"If we get a third consecutive dry year, we're going to have serious, serious problems, and I don't know the answer," said Ted Thomas, spokesman for the state Department of Water Resources.
Source: SF Chronicle
As people of conscience we should already be making efforts to conserve, but consider this a reminder in case you needed one.
Ten ways to start saving:
1. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. So set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Better yet, especially in times of drought, water with a hose. And best of all, convert your lawn to native plants.
2. Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. Saves 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped.
3. Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end. Saves 150 gallons each time. For a two-car family that's up to 1,200 gallons a month.
4. Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. Saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.
5. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.
6. Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
7. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Saves 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that's more than 600 gallons a month.
8. Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Saves 400 to 600 gallons per month.
9. Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden. Saves 200 to 300 gallons per month.
10. Don't water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs--and only there. Saves 500 gallons per month.
Additional Tips: Mono Lake