Save Our Water Does Double Duty at State Fair, Hosts Exhibits Featuring Indoor and Outdoor Water Saving Tips

The drought is on and so is the California State Fair. This year, the Save Our Water campaign is doubling down its messaging on conservation by hosting two exhibits at the fair – one on indoor water conservation and the other on outdoor conservation.

Save Our Water is the water conservation campaign co-managed by ACWA and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).  Staff from both organizations will be on hand this year to help attendees identify opportunities to conserve.

The outdoor garden area exhibit on outdoor water conservation tips is themed “It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3.” Its featured tips are:  1 – Get efficient– with your Irrigation system. 2 – Get smart with new technology. 3 – Get green with great plants, compost and mulch.

The indoor exhibit is set up to look like a home to inspire fairgoers to conserve water. It offers three islands that focus on saving water in the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom. Each island has an interactive component.

“Californians have a great resource in Save Our Water to help them combat this extraordinary drought,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. “We hope taking part in events like the State Fair will encourage even more of us to join the effort to save water.”

Mark Cowin,  director of DWR, added:  “The State Fair has always been a great opportunity to connect with Californians and spread the message of how important it is to save water. Now that the drought has brought the issue of conservation to the forefront, the Save Our Water displays are especially timely.”

Save Our Water has been connecting Californians to daily drought tips and news via its recently launched Don’t Waste Summer campaign. The campaign is devoted to providing daily tips and news on the new microsite –SaveOurWater.com– to help Californians find ways to conserve at home and at work every day. Save Our Water’s Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram are also great resources for Californians looking to join the effort to save water.

To learn more about the Save Our Water program, visit saveourh2o.org.

Save Our Water Web Site Launches “Don’t Waste Summer” Campaign

As a drought-stricken California moves further into a hot summer, Save Our Water – a partnership between the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) – is launching Don’t Waste Summera campaign devoted to providing daily tips and news to help Californians find ways to conserve at home and at work every day.

Don’t Waste Summer kicks off this week with the official start of summer. Tips will range from simple ideas such as shutting water off as you brush your teeth, to checking for and fixing leaks, to helpful ways businesses big and small can do their part in saving water during the drought.

The campaign will also showcase the efforts of Save Our Water partners to conserve this summer.

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) is the largest statewide coalition of public water agencies in the country. Its nearly 440 public agency members collectively are responsible for 90% of the water delivered to cities, farms and businesses in California.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is responsible for managing and protecting California’s water. DWR works with other agencies to benefit the state’s people, and to protect, restore and enhance the natural and human environments.

Gov. Brown Issues Executive Order to Redouble State Drought Actions

Governor Brown Doubles Down on Drought

 

With California’s driest months ahead, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to strengthen the state’s ability to manage water and habitat effectively in drought conditions and called on all Californians to redouble their efforts to conserve water.

“The driest months are still to come in California and extreme drought conditions will get worse,” said Governor Brown. “This order cuts red tape to help get water to farmers more quickly, ensure communities have safe drinking water, protect vulnerable species and prepare for an extreme fire season. I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible.”

In January, the Governor declared a drought state of emergency. Since then, state water officials say that reservoirs, rainfall totals and the snowpack remain critically low. Current electronic readings show the snowpack’s statewide water content at just 16 percent of average.

In the order, Governor Brown directs the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to expedite approvals of voluntary water transfers to assist farmers. He also directs the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to accelerate monitoring of drought impacts on winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River and its tributaries, and to execute habitat restoration projects that will help fish weather the on-going drought.

To respond to the increased threat of wildfire season, the order streamlines contracting rules for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and CALFIRE for equipment purchases and enables landowners to quickly clear brush and dead, dying or diseased trees that increase fire danger.

The order also calls on Californians and California businesses to take specific actions to avoid wasting water, including limiting lawn watering and car washing; recommends that schools, parks and golf courses limit the use of potable water for irrigation; and asks that hotels and restaurants give customers options to conserve water by only serving water upon request and other measures. The order also prevents homeowner associations from fining residents that limit their lawn watering and take other conservation measures.

The order provides a limited waiver of the California Environmental Quality Act for several actions that will limit harm from the drought.  This waiver will enable these urgently needed actions to take place quickly and will remain in place through the end of 2014.

Continue reading “Gov. Brown Issues Executive Order to Redouble State Drought Actions”

Snow Survey Presses State to Retrench and Reinforce

As we already know, calendar year 2013 closed as the driest year in recorded history for many areas of California, and current conditions suggest no change in sight for 2014.

No Water LogoAnd, California is experiencing the first zero allocation announcement for all customers of the State Water Project (SWP) in the 54-year history of the project.

According to California Department of Water Resources’ (CDWR) third snow survey of the season on February 27, twenty-nine public water agencies buy water from the SWP for delivery to 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland, revealing a continuation of California’s precipitation deficit during the state’s third consecutive dry water year (October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014). And, the statewide snowpack water equivalent was 6 inches, or only 24 percent of the average for the date.

The snowpack, “California’s largest reservoir”, typically issues about a third of the water used by the state’s cities and farms. And, California’s major reservoirs, themselves, are dangerously low.

A CDWR statement issued yesterday evaluating the snow survey findings, called the results, “an improvement from the previous survey on January 30 that found the snowpack’s water content at 12 percent of average for late January.”

According to CDPR, although it is difficult to quantify an exact amount of precipitation that would alleviate the current drought conditions, it is highly unlikely given historic patterns of the remainder of the rainy season that the drought will end this water year. There just isn’t enough time for precipitation to accumulate at an acceptable rate to alleviate drought conditions or the anticipated impacts to drought-stricken communities.

SWP’s principal reservoir, Lake Oroville in Butte County, is at only 39 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity; Shasta Lake north of Redding, California’s and the (federal) Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, is at 38 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity; and San Luis Reservoir, a important SWP and CVP reservoir ,  is at 33 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity.

What’s being done about it? When Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January, he directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. CAL FIRE recently announced it hired 125 additional firefighters to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions, the California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.

Also in January, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture also released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent and the Save Our Water campaign has announced four new public service announcements that encourage residents to conserve. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.

CDWR Snow