For the first time in the state’s history, California is setting permanent water-consumption goals to prepare for future droughts and climate change, with a local elected official involved in the historic move. Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) introduced Assembly Bill 1668, one of the bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday. Her district also includes Burbank. Brown also signed Assembly Bill 606 by Robert Herzberg (D-Van Nuys). The laws will go into effect in January. “A lot of us have taken water for granted, but it’s not something we can take for granted in Southern California,” Friedman said.
Archive for date: June 1st, 2018
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June is here and the heat is on across many areas of the southern U.S., including the Four Corner states. Despite some recent precipitation, which helped lower drought numbers in some counties, overall conditions continue to intensify and expand. Rivers and watering holes across different areas of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are drying up, forcing the closure of popular mountain recreation areas. Water restrictions are becoming the norm across the region.
As a young biologist in the 1970s, Peter Moyle remembers towing nets behind boats in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and catching 50 to 100 translucent, finger-length smelt in a matter of minutes. Moyle doesn’t see those days coming back. “I think extinction is imminent the way things are going,” said Moyle, a prominent UC Davis fisheries biologist. State biologists have found hardly any Delta smelt in their sampling nets in the past two years. Consecutive surveys in late April and early May found no smelt at all. Those results don’t mean the smelt have completely vanished.
At the Shiloh elementary school near Modesto, drinking fountains sit abandoned, covered in clear plastic. At Mom and Pop’s Diner, a fixture in the Merced County town of Dos Palos, regulars ask for bottled water because they know better than to consume what comes out of the tap. And in rural Alpaugh, a few miles west of Highway 99 in Tulare County, residents such as Sandra Meraz have spent more than four decades worrying about what flows from their faucets. “You drink the water at your own risk,” said Meraz, 77. “And that shouldn’t be. We have families here with young children.”