California has been experiencing a drought for three years. This marks
it as one of the worst droughts on record for the state of California,
and there are few signs of improvement. The governor of California, Jerry
Brown, asked Californians earlier this summer to voluntarily lower water
usage by up to 20 percent. As the drought continued and worsened, The
California Water Resources Control Board voted to enforce water rationing.
While specific limits will vary from city to city, most will impose fines
on those citizens who do not comply with the water usage restrictions.
Since it began, the drought has caused prices to increase for water and
crops, with the expected cost this year exceeding $2.2 billion. As many
as 17,000 agricultural jobs will be lost, despite the majority of the
state’s water going towards agriculture. Many ranchers are selling
their animals to farms in states less affected by the drought. This past
January, Governor Brown officially declared a state of drought emergency.
Water table, reservoir, and lake levels throughout the state are at a historic
low, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a major source of water for much
of the state’s rivers and lakes, has been severely reduced because
of the drought. There are 154 reservoirs in the state, and as of two months
ago they contained 60 percent of their historical average. This means
California is missing 1 year’s worth of water from its reservoirs,
the equivalent of 11.6 million acre-feet. One acre-foot is roughly 325,853
US gallons of water, making the total amount of water absent from California
reservoirs approximately 3.8 trillion gallons.
This level of water loss has put over half the state into the exceptional
drought category. Exceptional drought, known as D4, is the worst level
of drought, and nowhere in the state is the situation any better than
D2, or severe drought. Several factors differentiate exceptional drought
from less dangerous categories, including water emergencies being caused
by reservoir and well shortages and low measurements of soil moisture.
The moisture reserves in California’s soils are almost completely
dry, and grasslands are severely damaged. 70 percent of the pastures for
livestock are now rated either poor or very poor, which is one of the
factors causing ranchers to sell their cattle. The wildfires affecting
north and central regions of the state are also indications of the exceptional
dryness. Over 8,000 acres of plant life has been consumed in flames, and
the fire near Yosemite Valley is still not completely contained.
To help the state get through these difficult times, The Eco Plumbers has
offered its services in providing Niagara Stealth toilets. These 1,500
(and growing avg. 800-1,000 per month) stealth toilets will save as much
as 20,000 gallons a year per toilet, which may seem miniscule compared
to the 3.8 trillion gallons needed to bring California’s reservoirs
back to normal levels. However, a large number of these toilets will help
to ease the difficulty for the people receiving them - in this case, citizens
of Hollywood. Eco Plumbers is offering water conservation services to
help with the rebate programs that already exist with Los Angeles water.
The Eco Plumbers hopes to assist the state of California further in the
future and to help the people work through this difficult time.