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California Must Change Course to Avoid Water Shortages

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Californians have recently endured increasingly aggressive wildfires, rolling power outages, and smoke-filled air for days. Unless the state government changes course, we can add water shortages to this list.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, California has already suffered three droughts during this century – 2001-2002, 2007-2009, and 2012-2016. To address this reality, the state has enacted legislation to require urban water agencies, under penalty of $1,000 fines per day, to increasingly reduce average water use by residents and businesses, without requiring any significant steps to increase water capture and storage during wet years.

However, the dirty little secret is that 50 percent of California’s water supply is used for environmental purposes and is ultimately flushed out into the Pacific Ocean, 40 percent goes to agriculture, and only 10 percent goes for residential, industrial, commercial, and governmental uses.

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