Separating fact, fiction as water conservation ratchets up.

It’s human nature to want to believe that someone else is not doing their part before we each have to do ours. There are many such misconceptions about the current drought.

  • Agriculture uses a majority of delivered water and is getting a pass in water restrictions. While Santa Cruzans are restricted to 80 percent of a normal allocation, many farmers that rely on federal and state water are allocated zero percent and 20 percent of their contracted amount. This has contributed to a 2.8 million acre-foot cutback, 17,000 jobs lost, a $1.5 billion economic loss, and over 400,000 acres fallowed — and those are the numbers just through last year.
  • Environmentalists blocked water-storage projects. In the past few decades, storage equal to two Shasta Lakes was built in California by regional water agencies including roughly 5 million acre-feet of new groundwater storage.
  • Hydraulic fracturing takes huge amounts of water. The Department of Conservation estimates that hydraulic fracturing in California uses a relatively small amount of water — the equivalent of about 430 households annually for all hydraulic fractured wells in the state.
  • Water managers choose water for protecting fish over water for farms. Fish are important, and thousands of coastal jobs depend on healthy fish runs. But the water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta also keeps salt from the San Francisco Bay from coming into the Delta and water intakes, especially in very dry years like this one. Construction recently started on a temporary rock barrier to help keep salt out of the Delta this summer, indicating there is not a lot of extra water flowing into the San Francisco Bay.
  • Nestle bottles a huge amount of California water. Nestle captures 1/1000th of 1 percent of the state’s water for its production.
  • New storage right now would fight the drought. An Australian was asked why they didn’t build dams in the middle of their drought. He responded that it would not have helped, as there were no flows to capture.
  • Large amounts of water are shipped from Northern California to Southern California, where residents are not efficient. The greater Southern California area has grown by over 4 million people in the last generation — on LESS water.
  • Northern cities without water meters use excessive amounts of water. The new mandatory state water restrictions still apply to these cities, and they will have to reduce their water consumption by the same percentages as the rest of the state.
  • Water restrictions are not fair to warmer areas of the state. New water restrictions are based on 2013 usage, and warmer areas of the state used more water in that year.

Read more of the article here.

 

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