California beat its drought this year, but from that seven-year drought came a new device, engineered by a Cal Poly graduate. The sensor, called Flume, could be the next step in water conservation from your couch. Each American uses about 88 gallons of water at home each day, according to the EPA. That same report shows on average, a family spends $1,000 on water every year. “You literally just take [the device], put it on the side of the meter, run some water, and just like that you’re calibrated,” said Eric Adler, co-founder and CEO of Flume, Inc., while demonstrating the device.
The City of Santa Barbara declared an end to its drought emergency Tuesday. The city says the above-average rainfall this winter improved water supplies. Based on current water supply forecasts, the city believes it has enough supply to meet demands through 2021. On Tuesday, the City Council ended its Stage Three Drought Emergency, lifting drought water use regulations. The City Council first enacted the Stage Three Drought Emergency in 2015, requiring 25 percent water conservation initially. According to the city’s website, that conservation number eventually increased to 40 percent. Now that the drought emergency is over, that requirement will be lifted, however, the city will still enforce regulations against irrigation runoff and anyone who fails to repair a leak.
California is officially free of drought after more than seven years, drought monitors said Thursday. The Golden State has experienced some form of drought for 376 consecutive weeks, the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, tweeted. It’s the first time the state has been free of drought since Dec. 20, 2011. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tweeted that weather in 2017 helped matters, but moderate drought persisted. Rainfall this winter further alleviated the drought, although 7 percent of the state remains “abnormally dry.”
Construction crews broke ground on a new drought-resistant water supply on Friday in Templeton. The “Upper Salinas River Basin Conjunctive Use Project” will capture existing wastewater that is currently being released outside of the Atascadero Basin and returns the water to the Meadowbrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. Templeton Community Services District officials say this essentially increases the water supply by an additional 242 acre-feet per year.