California is Throwing Some Shade at Its Water Crisis

An innovative plan to conserve water by covering aqueducts with solar panels is about to undergo testing in drought-stricken California.

Why it matters: Water is becoming more precious by the day in the Golden State and the Western U.S. more broadly, in part due to climate change.

Now It’s San Francisco’s Turn to Ask Residents, Suburban Customers to Cut Water Use

San Francisco’s robust water supply, long unruffled by the severe dry spell now in its second year, has finally begun to feel the pinch of drought, and city water managers are recognizing it may be time to cut back.

Officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission plan to ask city residents and businesses to reduce water use by 5%, compared to two years ago, and ask the more than two dozen communities that buy water from the city to reduce water use nearly 14%. The goal is a cumulative 10% savings.

Another Bay Area City Is Poised to Declare a Drought Emergency and Mandate Water Conservation

Amid California’s worsening drought, Pleasanton city officials on Tuesday are expected to declare a local drought and water shortage emergency, and require residents to reduce their water usage by 15%. The Pleasanton City Council will vote at Tuesday’s meeting. In a report accompanying the council’s agenda, staff urged council members to make such declarations after board members with the Zone 7 Water Agency voted to do the same in September. The water agency, which serves the cities of Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and parts of Dougherty, said Tri-Valley customers are falling short on water reduction compared with 2020.

Opinion: How California Can Solve Its Growing Water Crisis

With snowpack and storage at historic lows, California and 95% of the West are suffering the worst drought in modern history. Marin and Santa Clara counties have imposed mandatory cutbacks, and other counties are considering the same. However painful, it is time for California to move quickly. Here are the steps — starting with the least intrusive and least expensive — that state and local government need to take now to avoid the dystopia that Cape Town, South Africa, endured in 2018 when the faucets ran dry.

How Drought Pressured California to Mandate Consolidation, Drinking Water for Tooleville

Life in Tooleville wasn’t easy before the latest drought.

Residents of this tiny, two-road farmworker community, tucked into the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills in eastern Tulare County, have been living on bottled water since 2014 because its two wells are contaminated with hexavalent chromium.

Then in July, one of those wells started to dry up, thanks to plummeting groundwater levels. State Water Resources Control Board officials agree Tooleville’s other well will likely hit sand in a matter of months.