“How many times are you watering your lawn per day?” This is a question that residents of Fresno, California have been asking each other pretty often recently. Actually, not only are they asking this, but they’ve been reporting each other for over-watering. Although this may sound a bit harsh, the reality of the California drought is that people are going to have to start cracking down even harder than they have been. And it’s working for Fresno- their water consumption is down 33% after one month.
But this kind of change doesn’t come easily. Wells, a water conservation team in Fresno, has issued a little under half of all 838 penalty citations to residents who have been over-watering. The LA Times reports that, “things got serious for Fresno last summer after the city’s groundwater dropped four feet and its allocations of imported, stored water dipped from 50% from one reservoir and all the way to zero from the other.”
So, beginning last August, residents were only allowed to water their lawns twice per day. Even in 106-degree weather, Fresno residents try to stay true to this regulation and report those who don’t. The city’s Public Utilities Director, Thomas Esqueda, is proud of the 515,000 residents of Fresno. He says that even most of the few thousand residents that were watering their lawns every day have cut back to only a couple of times a week.
Even with all of this exciting news about Fresno, Californian counties in general still have a long way to go. 97 California districts still have zero water regulations in place. Los Angeles and Long Beach have both only issued less than 10 citations. And some cities have issued none.
The new mantra of Fresno, “Don’t frown on brown” needs to be more widely circulated throughout California. Awareness on drought issues and education on water usage need to be widespread. Where do we start? Well, some of us need to set our sprinklers to twice a week. Some of us need to take shorter showers. Others need to simply turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth. All of these things are helpful for using less water. We just need to take action and actually choose to do them.
“As Its Water Dwindled, Fresno Cracked Down Hard”. LA Times. 6/22/15. http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-fresno-water-penalties-20150622-story.html#page=1