Amid the drought, here's where California really uses its water

For Californians who still cling to the myth that we are not in the middle of a severe drought, a brutal reality awaits. With a project...


For Californians who still cling to the myth that we are not in the middle of a severe drought, a brutal reality awaits.

With a projected dry winter For much of the state, California officials are considering fines of up to $ 500 per day for over-watering yards, watering driveways and other actions of water waste. The state’s water council could impose the sanctions as early as next month, when they show up for a vote.

You may be wondering: what about the requirement for shorter showers? Less flushing? Only use the dishwasher when it is full?

There are actually good reasons why these measures are not at the top of the water saving list. While home storage doesn’t hurt, the majority of California’s residential water – up to 80% – is used outdoors.

Take this example: when California was slammed with an atmospheric storm by the end of October, many of us forgot to water our lawns. After months of water savings of no more than 5% from last year, Californians’ water use in October fell to 13.2% below the October 2020 rate, according to de new state data. While there is still a lack of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 15% target, this is the closest we have come.

“This leap in water savings that we’ve seen statewide can illustrate just how much water can be conserved when we’re not irrigating outdoors, even for part of the month,” said Charlotte Ely, who presented savings data at the State Water Resources Control Board this week.

According to California Institute of Public Policy. The remaining 50% are intended for human use – 40% for agriculture and 10% for urban use, divided between indoors (drinking water, showers) and outdoors (lawns, washing our cars) .

But California’s relatively hot and dry weather tilts the balance in favor of outdoor consumption. Plants evaporate water quickly, so keeping them green is more water-intensive than in other parts of the country, said Jay Lund, co-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California at Davis.

“Our per capita water use rates are much, much, much higher than they are in the east, where there is rainfall in the summer,” Lund told me.

While the average Californian uses about 110 gallons of water per day, a person in Massachusetts, for example, uses on average about 65.

And just because the heat doesn’t make us drink more water. Every day, the average human consumes a gallon, maybe two, Lund told me. So, at most, that’s 2 percent of our total water consumption.

Lund highlighted the water-saving success of Healdsburg, a town in Sonoma County that faced a severe shortage this year. In June, officials prohibits residents from watering their lawns and yards.

Since then the city ​​water consumption fell 50 percent.

For more:


Today’s travel tip comes from Peter Lautz, a reader who lives in Chula Vista. Pierre recommends:

“The walk along the amazing cliffs at MontaƱa de Oro State Park along the central California coast, about 15 miles west of San Luis Obispo. Sea otters ride the waves below and wildflowers abound – a truly magical place of serenity and wilderness.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


The best 2021 actors.


An annual tamale party, New Years in Palm Springs, or an order of Ikeda pies for Christmas dinner – what are your holiday traditions in Golden State?

Write to me at CaToday@nytimes.com.


Did you miss the sunset last night? No problem.

This time frame captured a spectacular twilight on a Pacific beach. Enjoy.


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday. Have a good week-end. – Soumya

PS here today’s mini-crosswords, and a clue: Speak, speak, speak, speak… (3 letters).

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Newsrust - US Top News: Amid the drought, here's where California really uses its water
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