While Southern California may be the envy of the other 49 states, its citizens are asked to – again – conserve water.
By Mary O’KEEFE
Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared California in a drought on Friday, Jan. 17 stating that state officials will take all the necessary actions to prepare for drought conditions.
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” Brown stated in a press release. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”
In the governor’s State of the State address on Wednesday, Brown said, “Among all our uncertainties, weather is one of the most basic. We can’t control it. We can only live with it, and now we have to live with a very serious drought of uncertain duration.”
He called upon Californians to conserve water, which has been echoed by both Glendale Water and Crescenta Valley Water districts.
On Tuesday, GWP issued a statement asking customers to “increase their water conservation efforts and decrease water consumption.” The agency is not making any water restrictions mandatory due to the ongoing “efforts to dramatically lower demand and Metropolitan Water District’s significant investments in storage and infrastructure in recent years to capture water supply in wet years.”
“At this time we are encouraging all residents to be more mindful of how much water they are using,” stated Steve Zurn, general manager of GWP.
Crescenta Water District board voted on Tuesday to raise the Water Conservation Alert Status from awareness, which is blue, to “increased water conservation alert status,” which is green.
“We are going to request residents water [their lawns] on even days if your address ends in an even number,” said Christie Scott, CVWD spokesperson.
Residents with addresses that end on an odd number can water on odd days. CVWD wants residents to water their lawns three days a week to help conserve.
Although the state is in a drought, Southern California is in better shape than in the past.
“One of the messages we have heard from MWD is that Southern California has spent over $12 billion to reinforce the water supply. … That will take the edge off of this being a real critical problem,” said Dennis Erdman, CVWD general manager.
But even with the proactive methods of MWD, the concern is the duration of the drought and, of course, as dry conditions continue – future droughts.
The normal rainfall for downtown Los Angeles in January is 3.12 inches; this January the rainfall has been zero.
“[Last year] we had the driest year on record for a calendar year,” said Stuart Seto, weather specialist with the National Weather Service, Oxnard.
And it appears that Southern California is looking at more of the same.
“Basically we are in a neutral weather pattern [with a] high pressure in the Pacific [Ocean],” Seto said. “[The pattern] was doing that most of last year and [so far] this year. That is why we are so dry.”
There will be a Red Flag Watch set for late tonight and into Friday. This watch is due to a combination of low humidity, dry conditions and some Santa Ana winds expected to be sustained at 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of 45 mph.
Crescenta Valley residents, along with the entire state, are enjoying the sunny days while the east coast and Midwest deal with chilling Artic vortex storms, but there is a price to pay: dry conditions, low moisture and fire dangers.
As for now, water supplies are safe but conservation, although not mandatory, is something Californians should get used to.