Conservation habits utilized during previous droughts are sliding
The state of California finds itself mired in yet another dry winter, stoking fears in its citizens regarding the potential return of drought conditions. However, it seems the lessons of water conservation instilled throughout the last bout with such conditions may not have persisted to the current battle with dry weather.
According to study that analyzed the state’s water records from past years, California’s water savings dropped from 20% in May to 2.8% in December following Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement of the end of the drought emergency.
“We are having a very dry winter again,” said Heather Cooley, water program director at the Pacific Institute. “That wet winter we saw last year could have been one wet winter in a 10-to-12 year drought period. We have to be very cautious about our water use.”
The issue of water usage in California compounds itself. Because this winter has been very dry and seen high temperatures, residents become more likely to use more water in order to keep cool in the midst of such oppressive weather. This dips further into water reserves that the climate is not replenishing through rain.
“You can get a lot of water savings, even voluntary savings, if you give people the impression that it’s really important,” said Jay Lund, director of the UC-Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. “Most people try to be good citizens. They like to do their part. But if you don’t remind them, their mind goes to other things.”