“Gov. Jerry Brown called on residents in January 2014 to reduce their usage by 20% when he declared a drought state of emergency, but the Associated Press reports that consumers only hit the mark in December, with the monthly average since July standing at 11%.
The state established rules last summer that allowed communities to fine excessive water-wasters up to $500, but the investigation finds enforcement has been rare. In Los Angeles, for instance, only two $200 fines were issued in a service area of about 4 million people; in the southern area of Coachella, no homes with pristine lawns received a warning letter.”
According to recent reports, California may only have about one year’s supply of water left in its key reservoirs. However, this article from TIME suggests that the reason the situation has become so dire is down to the authorities not enforcing enough penalties to those wasting water.
The piece also highlighted an op-ed in The New York Times from NASA water scientist Jay Famiglietti, who said the state has no plans in place to deal with such a sever drought. “We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too,” he wrote.
‘The lake is now at its lowest level in over 30 years and experts predict it will keep dropping until melting mountain snow and spring rains begin to recharge the lake around late April or mid-May. The problem, scientists and environmentalists say, is a combination of climate change and growing use of hydropower.”
Reuters reports that Lake Baikal in Russia, the world’s largest freshwater lake, is shrinking. The freshwater mass located in Russia’s Siberian south, near the border of Mongolia, contains a whopping one fifth of all the earth’s unfrozen water reserves. But, due to a number of factors including climate change, it’s now at its lowest level in more than 30 years. Levels have dropped significantly over the past four months, which is leading many experts to describe the situation as a new global crisis.
The biggest concerns come from the fact that the dwindling water supply is already leading to tension between two regions that rely on it for power, water and their livelihoods. The article reveals that both the Buryat Republic and the people of the Irkutsk Oblast region are making claims over the water that’s left. A situation only set to get worse and possibly lead to conflict the lower the levels get.
“The biggest con job perpetrated on the consumer is not some shady operation selling bogus cures through TV infomercials. America’s biggest snake-oil salesman is actually the beverage industry, or Big Bev, which resells the simplest and most vital product for thousands of times its value. That product is drinking water.”
This piece published on Alternet has been picked up by a lot of national press today, because it makes the particularly controversial claim that bottled water isn’t any better than tap water – in fact the publication claims most of it IS tap water. The piece also reveals that there’s little to no regulation when it comes to bottled water, which is why so many multinationals are able to pass off regular water as fancy bottled water. It’s a fascinating read and provides a great deal of evidence to support the claims, although we’re not saying we believe 100% of them!
Image via Steven Depolo on Flickr Creative Commons.