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Riverside faces even tighter hose pipe limits

Riverside has become the first city in California state to sue over the drought ruleswater restrictions placed on it by the State Water Controls Board, which is demanding an “arbitrary and capricious” reduction in water usage of 28% – despite Riverside’s large ground water supply.

Under these rules it is possible for Riverside to face fines of up to $10,000 per day if water usage is not reduced by over a quarter, forcing the city to further regulate and restrict the occupant’s water rights.

Riverside missed out on being named a “reserve tier city”, ie a city with substantial water reserves that could last for several years independently, as its water reserves are found underground rather than in reservoirs. Reserve tier city status would have allowed a much more lenient 4% reduction in water usage to meet new state regulations, and this is what the Riverside is suing the state water board to reassess (and to try to block the 28% cut). A spokesperson for the state cited concerns that aquifers (groundwater) are difficult to measure, and may be utilized by many cities at the same time without , making it too confusing to measure clearly (compared to reservoirs).

Whilst the drought has improved since 2015, after California’s “four driest years in 2000 years” (according to a paper published in the Water Resources Research journal last year), experts agree that the drought is far from over. A recent article in the New York Times from October, 2016, highlighted concerns about the sizable time required to replenish the underground aquifers and reservoirs. In the article, Peter. H. Gleick, one of the founders of the Pacific Institute (dedicated to working on water issues), urged local people to help by upgrading their household appliances and fittings to water efficient models. He emphasizes the importance of a gradual move to permanent savings, for instance changing shower from 5-gallons-per-minute heads to an environment friendly 2-gallons-per-minute. These types of changes can really help mitigate the effects of the drought. Our plumbing company has already upgraded a few showerheads for the Riverside residents who were serious about the water conservation.

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Another way to drastically reduce your household’s water usage is to consider replacing your thirsty water-hogging lawn from your yard with a beautiful garden of drought resistance succulent plants – Riverside’s councilman Mike Soubirous is said to have reduced the size of his garden to reduce his water consumption.

Even if Riverside city wins the case against the state, and water restrictions become more relaxed, it is still of utmost importance that Californian residents work together to conserve water and replenish the water reserves (in August 2016 water conservation dropped drastically comparing to August 2013, read more about it here). Not only are various freshwater fish species in danger of extinction due to this drought, but the reduction in available crops land is a real concern for farmers, consumers and the local economy alike. Water shortages could even begin to prevent residents from getting access to safe and affordable water, especially those from low-income areas.

How efficiently does your household use water?

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