Water is the most precious commodity on earth. Unlike various types of fuels from which there are several to choose from, water is singularly powerful. Living things cannot survive without it. Plants, animals and humans must have it or they die. In today's world our water supplies are threatened by several different things. Two of the largest threats are chemical contamination and over use. Chemicals enter our water supply through chemical fun off from farms and industry. What isn't contaminated is often wasted through over use or its use for unnecessary activities. The latest California drought is causing major changes in how people think of water usage.
Crippling the Supply
In California, agriculture is a huge business. Combine that with the industrial and residential areas and you have a major problem with contamination simply through chemical and residential waste that eventually works its way into the water supply of the general population. From the improper disposal of motor oil and household chemicals, millions of gallons of water are contaminated each year. Run off from factories and large farming operations can impact several hundreds of millions more.
With California drought conditions further reducing the amount of viable water to residents, Governor Jerry Brown took drastic measures by implementing water restrictions designed to reduce the unnecessary use of water by both residents and commercial entities. The drought restrictions are so extensive, that in some areas of the state, residents are encouraged to turn in their neighbors or individuals they see violating the new laws.
Mandatory Water Restrictions
The new water restrictions are mandatory and must be followed by everyone, public and private entities alike. Violating the new laws can mean severe penalties. Homeowners can be fined up to $500 per day, per violation, while large corporations can have other penalties assigned to them. The following items are prohibited according to the newly enacted legislation:
The use of any hose that provides potable water and does not have a working shut off valve.
The use of decorative features that do not recirculate the water in use. This includes fountains, ponds, etc.
The use of any form of outdoor irrigation system within 48 hours of precipitation.
Any use that produces run off that enters into public areas and access ways.
During the California drought, businesses must observe the following.
Water can only be served to patrons of restaurants if it is personally requested
Hotels must offer their patrons the option of not having fresh linens and towels exchanged on a daily basis.
Submit monthly reports concerning water usage.
Water suppliers must have a restriction policy in place to control any form of outdoor water usage.
Protecting the Water Supply
Protecting the state's water supply is everyone's responsibility during the California drought. Small businesses and large corporations are just as liable for water loss as the average resident. No one is immune because every person must have water to survive. The enforcement of these new laws relies heavily on help from the public. Law enforcement agencies are continually trying to halt illegal water usage, but the problem is extremely widespread. State officials and lawn enforcement agencies openly encourage residents and business owners alike to do their part, both in conserving water themselves as well as reporting others who are in direct violation of the law.
Large corporations are not immune either and must constantly be aware of their water usage. They are required by the state to prepare regular reports on both water usage and their rate of compliance when it comes to waste and other chemical contaminants. Corporations are required to do their part just as any citizen and will face hefty fines if they are found in violation of the new laws.
Check out our infographic for everything you need to know about the California drought.