On the first of April, Governor Jerry Brown took an unprecedented step and announced the first ever statewide mandatory water restrictions alongside a series of other conservation measures. California is currently experiencing its fourth year of a drought with the most recent winter months experiencing the lowest snowpack in recorded history. As the dry summer months are approaching, it is critical that California water users conserve and use water wisely.
To address the need to conserve, Brown’s executive order requires a 25% reduction in water use by towns and cities, new pricing structures by local water agencies to encourage conservation, the replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns through a rebate program, rebates for water-efficient appliances, and new reporting guidelines for agricultural water users.
With all of these policies and measures that have just been created to lower our water usage, what does this mean for UC Santa Cruz? Fortunately, UC Santa Cruz has been adjusting its water usage through implementing the city of Santa Cruz’s 25% water reduction measure. UC Santa Cruz has addressed water conservation on multifaceted levels including cutting back irrigation 40-60%, installing recycled water autoclaves in labs, retrofitting old water fixtures, as well as having student-led teams conduct water audits of university buildings and educate the community about our current water situation. These changes were not easy, however the university was able to meet this goal for 2014.
Dan Coyro/Santa Cruz Sentinel
Does your home or a family’s home have a lawn that could benefit from being converted to a more drought tolerant landscape? Click here to find out if you are eligible for the turf rebate program and here to estimate your rebate total. Rebates start at $2 per square foot of turf removal and certain local water agencies are providing supplementary rebates as well. These products are also applicable for rebates.