Every morning on my way to work, I drive past the multitude of manicured green lawns with plants and trees that are not native to the desert climate of the Coachella Valley. Often the sight of this lush greenness is accompanied by the sight of water sprinklers which water not only the plants, grass and trees but also the sidewalk, cement and sometimes the road.
The sight angers residents of the Coachella Valley not only because it is so wasteful but that this waste goes unchecked while the state of California is undergoing its severest drought in recorded history. Yet, we continue to waste water, most noticeably, by the run-offs of water sprinklers.
Until recently, there were no statewide mandatory rules enforcing urban water conservation. Last week, the State Water Resource Control Board approved an emergency regulation to ensure water conservation in urban settings. The emergency regulations include $500 fines for washing driveways or sprinkler systems which cause too much run-off. In response to these new regulations, the three water agencies in the Coachella Valley are now evaluating whether and how they can enforce the new regulations.
Although there has been a 5 percent decrease in water use, we are far away from the 20% that was requested by Governor Jerry Brown. It is time for those of us in the Coachella Valley to reduce our water use and the first place to start is to fix those water sprinklers. If voluntary reduction is not possible then we need to put some bite in the conservation programs at the local level.
For more information on water laws, take a look at California Water Law and Policy (Lexis; KFC790 .S63)